It was all smiles as German Chancellor Angela Merkel watched a football friendly between her country and France with French President Francois Hollande – but will the mood be carried into Thursday’s EU summit?
The issue of cuts to the EU budget is dividing the two – with Hollande vowing to protect European spending and Merkel pushing for a bigger reduction.
At the previous summit in November, President of the European Council Herman Van Rompuy suggested a budget of 973 billion euros, 25 billion less than the figure originally put forward – but there is a push for even more cuts from Germany, the Netherlands and the UK.
EU Parliament President Martin Schulz is against those who want more reductions.
“My colleagues and I are not ready to accept that member states make the same mistakes on the European level that they have at home – that they agree a ‘deficit’ budget that’ll be overstretched. I’m saying quite clearly that I won’t sign any such agreement,” Schulz told euronews.
Leading the charge for a smaller budget is British Prime Minister David Cameron.
It is believed he will push for the budget to be well below 960 billion – the very figure which could be floated as the next compromise at the Brussels summit.