Cuts have been proposed in the European Union’s budget for next year. Governments want less spent on foreign aid and agriculture. Their demands are motivated by their own soaring budget deficits due to the economic crisis.

The Swedish EU Presidency set the tone: “This draft budget is disciplined. It is sound from a financial perspective. It includes substantial increases in research and development. It includes an ambition to boost competitiveness and innovation and it stimulates cohesion across the Union.” Senior finance ministry officials from the EU’s 27 member states at a meeting in Brussels called for a cut of 1.8 billion euros to the 122.3 billion euro budget proposed by the European Commission. The governments, Commission and European Parliament will now negotiate the final shape of the budget.