EU Leaders Meet to Hammer Out Budget

By:  Warren Mass
02/08/2013
       
EU Leaders Meet to Hammer Out Budget

Leaders of European Union nations met for a two-day summit in Brussels on February 7, in an attempt to reach a seven-year spending agreement.

Leaders of European Union nations met for a two-day summit in Brussels on February 7, in an attempt to reach a seven-year spending agreement. Representatives from the EU states failed to reach an agreement at their last budget summit in November.

BBC News reported that U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron (shown) made a statement that he will not accept any budget agreement that does not include further spending cuts, saying that the figures being proposed "need to come down. And if they don't... there won't be a deal."

A report from Bloomberg today provided figures for Prime Minister Cameron’s proposed seven-year package, which seeks cuts of 973 billion euros ($1.3 trillion). The report noted, “The blueprint was trimmed once, from 1.047 trillion euros in November, and is below the 994 billion euros spent in the budget period expiring this year.”

Bloomberg also noted that the budget negotiations pitted the more prosperous countries of northern Europe, which seek budget cuts, against the poorer southern and eastern European nations that do not want to see their subsidies reduced. French President François Hollande was seen as somewhere in the middle and as one who does not oppose budget cuts — so long as they don’t come from the farming budget, which benefits France disproportionately.

“I realize the need to economize, but we don’t want to weaken the economy,” Hollande was quoted by Bloomberg’s James G. Neuger on the way into the summit. “It’s possible to have an accord. If some aren’t being reasonable, I’ll try to reason with them, but only up to a certain point.”

Neuger wrote that any agreement reached at the summit will require the approval of the European Parliament, which gained greater powers over spending in a 2009 overhaul of EU treaties.

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