Sunday

1st May 2016

EU budget talks delayed as leaders set out red lines

  • Budget broker? Van Rompuy (r) has met individually with all EU leaders (Photo: consilium.europa.eu)

The long-awaited EU budget summit has begun on an uncertain note with a two hour delay to the start of talks.

EU officials had expected the first working session of talks to start at 20h30 Thursday evening, but with the 'confessional' meetings between EU leaders and European Council President Herman van Rompuy overrunning, negotiations are not expected to start before 11pm and not expected to finish until the early hours of Friday.

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.

Van Rompuy is expected to provide a revised budget plan as the basis for detailed negotiation. The first compromise proposal circulated to national capitals by the Council President pared the 1,053 billion tabled by the European Commission to 973 billion, a 20 billion cut on the 2007-2013 framework.

However, while the summit on the EU's next seven year budgetary cycle starting in 2014 has been planned to continue until the weekend, many leaders are sanguine about the prospect of talks breaking up without an overall deal.

Angela Merkel indicated that she felt under little pressure to reach an agreement. "Germany wants to reach the goal but it may be that we need a further stage", she told reporters outside the Council building.

Germany is comfortably the largest net contributor to the EU budget, and is unwilling to see its contribution go up. French President Francois Hollande, struck a different tone, emphasising that France and Germany would be the likely brokers of a deal. "I am sure that with Germany, we are going to be - as always - a motor to allow this compromise", he said.

The talks are expected to be finely balanced between the eight member states who are net contributors to the budget seeking overall cuts in EU spending and others demanding either an increase or, at least, the maintenance of programmes such as farms subsidies in the common agricultural policy and cohesion funding for infrastructure projects in the bloc's poorest regions.

Italy's Prime Minister Mario Monti said that "it is absolutely essential that Italy obtains better results than those presented in initial drafts", he said.

UK Prime Minister David Cameron, who has been loudest about the potential use of the veto, promised to negotiate hard for British taxpayers.

Meanwhile, European Parliament President Martin Schultz warned earlier that MEPs could reject an eventual agreement if the budget cuts are too deep.

War crimes law poisons Serbia accession talks

Croatia wants its neighbour to scrap a law on universal juridiction in the former Yugoslavia. The request is delaying the opening of a new chapter of negotiations.

News in Brief

  1. Netherlands funds €1.3mn Russian media project
  2. Fake euros network dismantled in Bulgaria
  3. Inflation negative in eurozone in April
  4. EU economy registers 0.5% growth in first quarter
  5. Eurovision says No to Kosovo, Palestine, IS flags
  6. EU to decide on future of tobacco agreement 'soon'
  7. Russia blames Sweden for frosty relations
  8. UN chief warns of 'growing xenophobia' in Europe

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. European Roundtable of IndustrialistsDigitising European Industry
  2. Counter BalanceParliament Gets Tough on Control EU Bank's Funds
  3. ICRCSyria: Aleppo on the Brink of Humanitarian Disaster
  4. CESIWorld Day For Health and Safety at Work: Public Sector Workers in The Focus
  5. EFABasque Peace Process-Arnaldo Otegi Visits the European Parliament
  6. EscardioChina Pays Price of Western Lifestyle With Soaring Childhood Obesity
  7. Centre Maurits CoppetiersThe Existence of a State is a Question of Fact, Not a Question of Law
  8. Martens CentreJoin Us at The Event: Prospects For EU Enlargement After 2019
  9. ICRCSyria: Aid for Over 120,000 People Arrives in Besieged Town Near Homs
  10. Counter BalanceHighway to Hell: European Money Fuelling Controversial Infrastructure Projects
  11. EPSUResponds To Reported €300 Million McDonald’s Tax Bill in France
  12. Access NowAcademics and Privacy Groups Ask Obama to Reject Anti-encryption Law

Latest News

  1. EU roaming charge cut enters UK referendum campaign
  2. EU fiscal rules, migrants and Belgium's trick
  3. EU should call out Bangladesh on workers' rights
  4. Kosovo: Living in a ghetto on the EU fringe
  5. War crimes law poisons Serbia accession talks
  6. Italy and Austria try to calm tensions on Alpine pass
  7. French MPs call to lift Russia sanctions
  8. EU sides with embattled Greek PM in bailout talks