Business, Finance & Economics

EU 2013 budget talks collapse over request for 'emergency' cash

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A statue holding the symbol of the Euro stands in front of the European Parliament building in Brussels, Belgium.

Credit:

Mark Renders

Talks to agree on the European Union's 2013 budget have ended in failure.

Negotiators walked out of a meeting in Brussels last night without even discussing next year's spending, according to Reuters.

Instead, they spent the preceding eight hours arguing over a request to allocate billions of euros extra to pay this year's bills.

The European Commission and Parliament say they have already used up the 2012 budget and need another €9 billion ($11 billion) of "emergency funding" to cover the costs of education, infrastructure and research projects, the BBC reported.

The Financial Times said that several member states, including top budget contributors Germany, the UK and France, have refused to agree to the increase, which they argue is unacceptable when they're cutting spending at home.

That position is setting negotiators up for another impasse when they come to discussing the 2013 budget: the Commision and lawmakers want to increase next year's spending by 6.8 percent, Reuters said, while most national governments say they will accept a rise of 2.8 percent at most.

The EU is also supposed to agree this month on its longer-term budget for 2014-2020, a prospect that looks increasingly unlikely given yesterday's dispute.

"With Europe mired in recession and already divided over bailouts and austerity programs, this year's debate is particularly acrimonious," says GlobalPost correspondent Paul Ames.

Britain has already threatened to veto the proposal if, as Brussels wants, spending is increased by up to 6 percent to some €1 trillion ($1.3 trillion) for the next seven years.

Negotiators will make another attempt to decide on the 2013 budget on Nov. 13, Bloomberg said, the day of the deadline for its approval.

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