British Prime Minister Tony Blair has wrapped up a week of consultations with the other European Union leaders in search of an elusive deal on the bloc’s next medium-term budget. He has encouraged everyone to make an effort on concessions, saying the process will not get any easier under future EU presidencies:
“I can’t agree a deal that doesn’t allow the possibility of a fundamental review for this next financial budget period.”
The last of a diplomatic whirlwind of visitors to the offices in Downing Street was Spain’s Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero. Spain risks losing out on regional funding under the British proposal and Zapatero said he did not rule out using Spain’s veto.
European Commission experts have said Britain’s current proposal would make it the smallest net contributor.In spite of persisting friction over proposals for a smaller budget, reduced aid to the new members, review of the Common Agricultural Policy and the British rebate, it is said that everyone wants to agree on an accord at the leaders’ summit which starts next Thursday.Blair has promised to present a revised offer before then.