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Officials agree EU budget for 2014

Officials agree EU budget for 2014
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EU negotiators have secured a deal on next year’s budget for the 28-member bloc.

Under the agreement, EU spending should total 135.5 billion euros in 2014.

That represents a cut of 6.5 percent from this year, equivalent to 9.4 billion euros.

Officials announced the deal after hours of overnight negotiations, which were chaired by Lithuania, the current holders of the EU presidency.

“(The) negotiations (were) difficult and complex because we negotiated not only for 2014 but also on additional payments needed for 2013,” said Lithuanian Deputy Finance Minister Algimantas Rimkunas.

“I mean the solidarity fund for countries that suffered from national disasters and we managed to reach the compromise agreement on the sources of financing of that solidarity fund for countries such as Germany, Austria, Czech Republic and Romania.”

But the vast majority of cash – around two thirds of the total – will be spent on subsidising European farmers and supporting investment projects in Europe’s poorest regions, such as the building of new highways.

The budget also includes an extra 3.9 billion euros to fight youth unemployment, reports Euronews’ Efi Koutosokosta.

But critics called this is a drop in the ocean, our correspondent says. It amounts to some 200 euros to be spent on each of the 19 million young people out of work in Europe.

The agreement must be now be approved by EU governments and the European Parliament before it can enter into force.