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EU summit raises temperatures over treaty and spending

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EU summit raises temperatures over treaty and spending
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Germany and France have set out to re-tune the European Union’s Lisbon Treaty. At a two-day summit in Brussels, their leaders are expected to have quite a job ahead of them convincing the others to toughen measures to stop states letting their budgets get out of hand.

But while Luxembourg has warned against overdoing it, even Greece has said it could back limited treaty change. The meeting is expected to sign off on a new set of EU budget rules, including tougher sanctions.

President of the European Council Herman van Rompuy is in the consensus-seeker role. But the Lisbon Treaty took eight years to negotiate and only came into effect 10 months ago. Many EU countries are wary of tinkering with it.

Euronews correspondent Sergio Cantone said: “It is going to be difficult: Most of the EU members are opposing the German-French proposal. Van Rompuy might get some new ideas after round table talks, for a new one for December.”

Another hot potato is whether to increase the bloc’s budget for next year. The European Parliament last week voted for a six percent rise.
Most of the 27 governments want no more than 2.9 percent. The UK’s David Cameron wants none at all.

Arriving at the summit, Cameron said: “I think it is completely unacceptable, at a time when European countries, including the United Kingdom, are taking tough decisions on their budgets, having to cut some departments. It is completely wrong.”

Any change to EU treaties needs all the member states’ approval. Germany’s aim is to be ready before the EU’s temporary financial stability fund for the euro zone expires in 2013.