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Hollande and Merkel doubt summit will agree EU budget

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Hollande and Merkel doubt summit will agree EU budget


French President Francois Hollande has echoed German Chancellor Angela’s Merkel’s assessment that the current EU summit will not produce an agreement on the budget.

British Prime Minister David Cameron wants to keep funding for the next seven years down, arguing that individual countries are having to make tough cuts in their national budgets.

Another sticking point is the Common Agricultural Policy known as CAP – the budget’s biggest item. With France as the main beneficiary, the country’s President Francois Hollande is resisting any cuts.

“I can not accept that the richest countries of the European Union come to request checks, rebates and discounts and France, in addition, has to contribute to that. So everyone should make an effort,” Hollande added.

Germany is a net contributor to the EU and pays the largest amount into the bloc. Merkel is among those who want to see cuts, and said it could take more time to hash out details of the close to one trillion euros at stake.

“I hope the proposal which follows will bring us a step closer. I think that tomorrow we’ll advance a little, but I doubt we’ll achieve a result. I’ve already said I think there’ll be a second stage,” Merkel told reporters.

Speaking to the European Parliament on Wednesday, President of the Commission Jose Manuel Barroso said that no one is talking about the quality of investments.

Meanwhile, EU President Herman Van Rompuy is feverishly working on proposals to bring the countries closer.

From Brussels euronews correspondent Margherita Sforza said: “The negotiations between Van Rompuy and the individual heads of state have lasted much longer than expected -a sign of how their difficulty and delicacy. Hope of an agreement is hanging by a thread.”

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