Reuniting Europe

EU leaders have been very close to an agreement for the budget 2014-2020 on the basis of the latest proposal by Council President Herman Van Rompuy, Presidency sources told EurActiv. None of the “big countries” has made obstacles, but several “small countries” reportedly played the troublemakers.

The EU extraordinary summit collapsed today (23 November) without an agreement by 5 p.m., with another summit Council meeting early next year returning to the issue of the squaring the circle of the common EU budget.

Leaders have been looking for a compromise based on a new version of the EU’s long-term budget (2014-2020), made by the entourage of Van Rompuy.

>> See article The EU’s new budget blueprint in figures

Strange as it may appear, no leader of any of the big countries, not even UK’s David Cameron, raised issues that could have sank the summit.

“Everybody was expecting that Cameron to broke everything. But Cameron came with a different approach. Now nobody can say that the UK is responsible for what happened,” said the diplomat, who has listened the debate.

Reportedly, Cameron has been “very diplomatic” and has told his fellow leaders “I am here to agree”. According to the insider’s report, he has been ready to accept a cut of the EU budget to the level of 100 billion, in spite of having mention the figure of 200 billion during the bilateral “confessionals”, held with Van Rompuy.

Newcomer Romania named as “troublemaker”

According to sources, the troublemakers have been Finland, the Netherlands, which is no surprising, as these net donor countries have been insisting on more cuts and on rebates, but also “low voices” from crisis-hit Portugal and EU newcomer Romania, who had insisted for “more money”.

“That’s why it’s a pity. We didn’t have big member states against,” he lamented.

Now diplomats fear that in the new exercise of bilateral consultations many countries would harden their positions.


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