Monday

18th Feb 2019

Merkel downplays EU budget vetoes

German Chancellor Angela Merkel is still hopeful a deal on the EU budget can be reached later this month, seeing the veto threats from several countries as part of the negotiating process.

"On the multi-annual budget, we still have tough decisions ahead. But both Germany and Ireland want to set a sign very early on that there is a planning for the future EU funds and we hope we will succeed," Merkel said on Thursday (1 November), with Ireland taking over the rotating EU presidency in January.

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  • Merkel wants to convince Cameron not to veto the budget (Photo: REGIERUNGonline/Kugler)

She downplayed veto threats by Britain, Sweden, Denmark and France on the proposed €1 trillion EU budget for 2014-2020, saying they are "part of the negotiations."

"I will hold direct talks with David Cameron next week. We are in close contact with the UK and Germany will do everything so that a solution is found," she said, in reference to her planned visit to London next week.

Cameron is in a difficult position after a vote in the BritishpParliament on Wednesday demanding him to ask for a budget cut in real terms instead of a budget freeze as he had planned.

"We'll have to see how things evolve, for now it's too early to say and I do not want to throw further vetoes in the room. That does not help finding a solution," Merkel said.

Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny also said it was "important that we have a budget for the EU" and that "different opinions" ahead of the 22 November summit are to be expected.

Back in Brussels, EU officials speak of "promising" movement among member states towards reaching a compromise, despite the likely British veto threat if no cuts are made.

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The Cypriot presidency has proposed cutting €50 billion off EU spending plans for 2014 to 2020 - a number that could trigger national vetoes and strikes by EU staff.

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EU budget, Merkel on agenda this WEEK

Negotiations on the EU's next seven-year budget start on Monday, with sources predicting a deal on €200 billion cuts.

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