EU leaders arrive in Brussels to hammer out tough budget deal


German Chancellor Angela Merkel arrives at the EU Headquarters on November 22, 2012 in Brussels, to take part in a two-day European Union leaders summit called to agree a hotly-contested trillion-euro budget through 2020.


George Gobet

European leaders arrived in Brussels on Thursday to begin talks over the EU budget.

The talks are expected to be contentious as southern European countries want to maintain EU spending, while richer, northern European countries will push for fiscal restraint.

The negotiations will attempt to hammer out a seven-year budget, a tall task in the 27-member union, encompassing a diverse range of economies from Portugal to Finland.

The Wall Street Journal reported that British Prime Minister, David Cameron, told reporters Thursday morning that he was not happy with the current proposals on the table.

Cameron will call for a spending freeze and a new budget slightly lower than the 940 billion euros it currently spends, said the BBC.

Many of these cuts will come from the European Commission's expansion of infrastructure projects as well as cuts in Brussels' bureaucracy

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Cameron was echoed by the Dutch leader who said he would veto increased spending proposals.

On the other side are poorer, eastern and southern European nations led by Poland who want to protect so-called "cohesion" spending, said the Wall Street Journal.

"All those who want growth in Europe, all those who think seriously about more jobs, investments to emerge from the crisis, should support Poland in our efforts for a bigger cohesion fund," said Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk, according to the Journal.

Bloomberg said that European leaders like German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy predict that the summit will fail and another will be needed to make a deal.

Such was the case with the 2005 EU budget talks.

The BBC said the current summit will not succeed or fail based on tallying budget sums (the EU budget is less than one percent of European GDP) but rather on political calculations.