Saturday

27th May 2017

Leaders break off EU budget talks

  • National positions were 'too far apart' for a deal on the EU budget (Photo: Valentina Pop)

EU leaders on Friday (23 November) decided to break off the 2014-2020 budget negotiations and postpone them for another summit, as a second compromise attempt failed to reconcile positions between those wanting cuts and those asking for more money.

Admitting that there are "still existing divergences," EU council chief Herman Van Rompuy at a press conference said that leaders had given him the task to continue bilateral talks in the coming weeks, with a view to a final deal early next year.

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

EU commission chief Jose Manuel Barroso will also be involved in what he described as "complex, difficult, but constructive talks."

The tone was set already in the morning when most leaders expressed scepticism that a deal would be reached. "Positions are too far apart, but as I said before it would not be dramatic if we need to come back next year," German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on her way into the discussions.

EU diplomats conceded that there was not enough pressure for the leaders to agree already now for a budget framework that will start on 1 January 2014. The seven-year budget agreed in 1999 was agreed after poisonous debates only nine months before it should have started and in 2005, it was sealed 12 months before.

"We are well within the normal calendar. There will be no drama if there is no deal this weekend," a German official told journalists in Berlin on Thursday.

The Prime Ministers of Austria, Luxembourg, Finland, Netherlands struck a similar tone, downplaying expectations about a deal on Friday.

Meanwhile, British Prime Minister David Cameron dismissed the latest draft budget tabled the night before by EU council chair Herman Van Rompuy as "tinkering with figures" instead of making real spending cuts. "We need a real cut, that's what's happening at home, that's what needs to happen here," he said.

But neither were eastern member states happy. According to one participant at the debates, Romanian President Traian Basescu lashed out at the proposal and demanded more for cohesion and agriculture aid.

Romania however has used less than ten percent of the €20 billion allocated for 2007-2013 and the EU commission has frozen all the funds for this year due to irregularities in the public tenders. The non-used money flows back to member states.

Commenting on the negotiations, Liberal leader and former Belgian Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt said the whole summit looked like a "Turkish bazaar" where everyone needs to show they fought for a good deal, even though the sum is tiny compared to what national budgets are.

The one-trillion-euro budget for 2014-2020 is only one percent of EU's total gross domestic product, compared to 24 percent of the federal budget in the US, Verhofstadt stressed.

EU budget diplomacy to mark Irish presidency

Exactly 40 years after it joined the EU, Ireland will take on the day-to-day running of the EU including overseeing the almost 70 laws needed to get the currently-disputed longterm budget up and running.

MEPs told to prepare for budget cuts

MEPs should brace themselves for an overall cut in the next EU budget framework, commission President Barroso has warned.

News in Brief

  1. Malloch will not be US ambassador to the EU
  2. 'Significant' drop in EU migration to UK
  3. Bomb injures former Greek PM
  4. British PM to speak out on US terrorism leaks
  5. Tusk calls for 'values, not just interests' after Trump meeting
  6. Pressure grows on climate impact of EU timber harvesting
  7. US goes after Fiat Chrysler over emissions cheat
  8. Munich police break up Europe-wide burglar clan

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNICEFChild Alert on Myanmar: Fruits of Rapid Development yet to Reach Remote Regions
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersBecome an Explorer - 'Traces of Nordic' Seeking Storytellers Around the World
  3. Malta EU 2017Closer Cooperation and Reinforced Solidarity to Ensure Security of Gas Supply
  4. European Healthy Lifestyle AllianceHigh-Intensity Interval Training Is Therapeutic Option for Type 2 Diabetes
  5. Dialogue Platform"The West Must Help Turkey Return to a Democratic Path" a Call by Fethullah Gulen
  6. ILGA-EuropeRainbow Europe 2017 Is Live - Which Countries Are Leading on LGBTI Equality?
  7. Centre Maurits CoppietersWhen You Invest in a Refugee Woman You Help the Whole Community
  8. Eurogroup for AnimalsECJ Ruling: Member States Given No Say on Wildlife Protection In Trade
  9. European Heart NetworkCall for Urgent Adoption of EU-Wide Nutrient Profiles for Nutrition & Health Claims
  10. Counter BalanceInvestment Plan for Europe More Climate Friendly but European Parliament Shows Little Ambition
  11. Mission of China to the EUPresident Xi: China's Belt and Road Initiative Benefits People Around the World
  12. Malta EU 2017EU Strengthens Control of the Acquisition and Possession of Firearms