Wednesday

23rd Aug 2017

France and Poland main winners in first round of EU budget talks

  • Prospects for a deal on Friday are dimming (Photo: European Council)

The first day of talks between leaders on the €1 trillion EU budget framework broke up around midnight on Thursday (22 November) with France and Poland the main beneficiaries from a new compromise proposal.

Following criticism over his initial plans to slash agricultural subsidies and regional development funds, European Council President Herman Van Rompuy presented leaders with a fresh compromise text of figures on which to base negotiations.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now and get 40% off for an annual subscription. Sale ends soon.

  1. €90 per year. Use discount code EUOBS40%
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

The draft paper keeps to the same overall top-line figure of 972 billion stated in the proposal sent to national capitals last week, equivalent to 1.01% of GNI.

However, in a bid to pacify member states, it redistributes the cuts between budget headings.

Agriculture is the main beneficiary with an €8 billion increase, while intensive lobbying by the 15-nation "Friends of Cohesion" group led by Poland saw it rewarded by a €10.6 billion increase in funds.

The EU's own projects aimed at promoting jobs and growth are set to be the main losers from the new proposal.

The flagship Connecting Europe Facility, which focuses on infrastructure projects to develop Europe's transport, energy and digital networks would be cut a further €5 billion to €41 billion.

The Galileo space programme would also lose an extra €350 million. The irony of EU leaders cutting back on their own growth strategy, just months after agreeing on a €60 billion ' growth and jobs pact in June, was not lost on officials.

Meanwhile, the "Europe in the world" heading, which covers spending in Croatia and other candidates for EU membership as well as EU aid to the world's poorest countries is to suffer a further €5 billion cut.

The move is likely to deepen concerns of NGOs.

Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso earlier said that development aid could be among the biggest losers from the negotiations. Despite being in the firing line of a handful of the net contributor countries, led by the UK and the Netherlands, the draft leaves administrative spending in the EU institutions untouched.

As expected, UK Prime Minister David Cameron put forward a more ambitious cuts programme with a €890 billion budget. However, EU officials expect Cameron to accept a compromise based on the latest draft.

For his part, European Parliament President Martin Schultz told reporters that a comprehensive budget agreement is unlikely at this summit.

"There seems to be very little room from manoeuvre," he commented, adding that "what is probable is that there will not be an agreement."

Schultz also reiterated that the assembly would oppose any budget lower than the €972 billion Van Rompuy headline figure. "There is no chance the European Parliament will go along with this,' he said.

With the one-to-one "confessional' meetings between leaders and European Council President Herman van Rompuy delaying proceedings, the first formal session of negotiation lasted little over an hour, with the summit negotiations set to resume at midday on Friday (23 November).

If the summit breaks off without agreement, EU leaders are likely to come together in early in spring next year. However the later the deal, the higher the timetable pressure to get all the corresponding pieces of spending legislation agreed with parliament by end of 2013.

Opinion

EU budget: Don't cut the left arm to save the right

EU citizens will be the biggest losers of the power struggle on the Union's budget for 2014-2020, as any cuts will stifle growth and jobs, write MEPs Joseph Daul and Reimer Boege.

Leaders break off EU budget talks

EU leaders on Friday decided to break off 2014-2020 budget negotiations after a second compromise attempt failed to reconcile those wanting cuts and those asking for more money.

Opinion

Managing migration: a European responsibility

"The EU now needs to bring its weight to bear, to ensure non-EU countries cooperate on taking back their nationals arriving as economic migrants", writes migration commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos.

News in Brief

  1. EU calls on Serbia and Macedonia to remain calm
  2. Schulz wants US to remove nuclear weapons from Germany
  3. Ukraine and Russia to announce another ceasefire
  4. EU to investigate Monsanto-Bayer merger
  5. US will ask Nato allies to send more troops into Afghanistan
  6. Greece to be absent at event on Communism and Nazism
  7. Czechs want observer status in Eurogroup meetings
  8. Putin sends EU-blacklisted ambassador to US

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. European Jewish CongressEuropean Governments Must Take Stronger Action Against Terrorism
  2. European Healthy Lifestyle AllianceDoes Genetics Explain Why So Few of Us Have an Ideal Cardiovascular Health?
  3. EU2017EEFuture-Themed Digital Painting Competition Welcomes Artists - Deadline 31 Aug
  4. ACCABusinesses Must Grip Ethics and Trust in the Digital Age
  5. European Jewish CongressEJC Welcomes European Court of Justice's Decision to Keep Hamas on Terror List
  6. UNICEFReport: Children on the Move From Africa Do Not First Aim to Go to Europe
  7. Centre Maurits CoppietersWe Need Democratic and Transparent Free Trade Agreements Says MEP Jordi Solé
  8. Counter BalanceOut for Summer, Ep. 2: EIB Promoting Development in Egypt - At What Cost?
  9. EU2017EELocal Leaders Push for Local and Regional Targets to Address Climate Change
  10. European Healthy Lifestyle AllianceMore Women Than Men Have Died From Heart Disease in Past 30 Years
  11. European Jewish CongressJean-Marie Le Pen Faces Trial for Oven Comments About Jewish Singer
  12. ACCAAnnounces Belt & Road Research at Shanghai Conference