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Progress imperceptible in EU budget challenge

Progress imperceptible in EU budget challenge
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Luxembourg’s proposal to trim the EU budget is winning poor reviews.

Delegates at a European Regions summit held in Wroclaw, Poland, have added their voices to the opposition. They want regional development aid of no less than zero point four one percent of the bloc’s GDP. The Luxembourgish EU presidency is suggesting something in the neighbourhood of point three eight. Germany has also attacked the plan, saying the budget is still too big. Luxembourg Interior minister Jean-Marie Halsdorf talked about trying to find a fair consensus, one which would fulfill everyone’s wishes. Clearly, however, not everyone would be 100% happy, he said. Poland criticised the plan, arguing it would cut the structural aid it needs to catch up with the West. Poland’s Commissioner in Brussels is in charge of regional policy. Danuta Hübner told EuroNews the effect Luxembourg’s plan would have: “It would have consequences for the internal architecture of the cohesion policy and also for the entire system, for the generosity of the transitory regimes — and that’s why this proposal does not meet the expectations of the Commission.” Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said the proposals did not match the member states’ previous commitments, and Britain in the enlarged EU should compromise on its cherished rebate.