Tags: eu | budget | europe | year

EU Leaders Agree to $1.28 Trillion, 7-Year Budget

By Bill Hoffmann   |   Friday, 08 Feb 2013 02:59 PM

European Union leaders have hammered out a deal on a new seven-year budget — which includes spending commitments of $1.29 trillion.

"Deal done! …Worth waiting for,’’ a jubilant European Council President Herman Van Rompuy declared on his Twitter account on Friday.

The agreement came after 24 hours of intensive negotiations in Brussels, Belgium, although it still must be approved by the European Parliament, which is expected to try to reject it.

The agreed-on price tag is substantially less than the $1.37 trillion the European Commission had originally proposed.

"We simply could not ignore the extremely difficult economic realities across Europe, so it had to be a leaner budget," Van Rompuy said at a news conference.

"For the first time ever, there is a real cut compared to the last multiannual financial framework."

Reductions were made in transportation, energy and telecom projects, and the salaries of EU officials.

One EU diplomat complained to London’s Guardian newspaper that Van Rompuy had adopted crude tactics in which he bought off individual member states with "gifts" while cutting infrastructure projects meant to benefit the entire union.

"Growth has been the victim of the bazaar," the diplomat said.

CNN said the deal emerged after a “‘bruising battle that had British Prime Minister David Cameron leading demands for deep cuts to reflect the austerity undertaken by many governments and François Hollande, French president, rallying the defense of EU spending to help recession-hit economies.’’

Cameron praised the agreement as "good for the U.K. and good for Europe.’’

The deal came just a few months after a previous talks collapsed.

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