Tuesday

12th Dec 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 for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  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.

EU will not start Brexit future talks before March

Transition talks could start in January, and detailed negotiations on the future and trade relations in mid-April, as Brussels awaits for London to say what sort of relationship it wants. Last week's deal is now 'Davis-proofed', one EU official said.

News in Brief

  1. EU bank delays gas pipeline decision
  2. Hungary's leftwing parties join Jobbik in anti-Orban protest
  3. Barnier: EU will not accept UK backtracking on Brexit deal
  4. Puigdemont to return to Catalonia if elected
  5. Commission approves EasyJet partial takeover of Air Berlin
  6. EU medical command centre due next year
  7. Auditors: EU 'green' farm payments fail ecology criteria
  8. Austria gas explosion creates Italian energy 'emergency'

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. ACCACFOs Risk Losing Relevance If They Do Not Embrace Technology
  2. UNICEFMake the Digital World Safer for Children & Increase Access for the Most Disadvantaged
  3. European Jewish CongressWelcomes Recognition of Jerusalem as the Capital of Israel and Calls on EU States to Follow Suit
  4. Mission of China to the EUChina and EU Boost Innovation Cooperation Under Horizon 2020
  5. European Gaming & Betting AssociationJuncker’s "Political" Commission Leaves Gambling Reforms to the Court
  6. AJC Transatlantic InstituteAJC Applauds U.S. Recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s Capital City
  7. EU2017EEEU Telecom Ministers Reached an Agreement on the 5G Roadmap
  8. European Friends of ArmeniaEU-Armenia Relations in the CEPA Era: What's Next?
  9. Mission of China to the EU16+1 Cooperation Injects New Vigour Into China-EU Ties
  10. EPSUEU Blacklist of Tax Havens Is a Sham
  11. EU2017EERole of Culture in Building Cohesive Societies in Europe
  12. ILGA EuropeCongratulations to Austria - Court Overturns Barriers to Equal Marriage

Latest News

  1. Last chance for Poland to return property to its rightful owners
  2. Commission attacks Tusk on 'anti-European' migrant plan
  3. Volkswagen tells EU: we will fail on our recall promise
  4. EU will not start Brexit future talks before March
  5. Bitcoin risky but 'limited phenomenon', says EU
  6. Panama Papers - start of sensible revolution in EU tax affairs?
  7. Lebanon crisis overshadows EU aid for Syrian refugees
  8. New Polish PM brings same old government