The European Union's vaunted budget talks ended in disaster today, with leaders abandoning the two-day summit with no plan on how to address the growing economic crisis or agree on a long-term budget, according to Britain's The Times.
The BBC's correspondent in Brussels, Gavin Hewitt, said despite the deadlock, leaders were still trying to unite behind a statement:
EU summit over. No agreement. Working on communique.
— Gavin Hewitt (@BBCGavinHewitt) November 23, 2012
At issue is Europe's fiscal plan moving forward, a weighty subject with various EU member states in need of massive bailouts amid the specter of a bankrupting Greece. Debt-strapped Cyprus just became the fifth EU country to file for help.
Angela Merkel of Germany, the bloc's largest contributor to the budget, earlier said she doubted the Brussels summit would end in agreement on a new seven-year plan for some one trillion euros, according to Reuters.
Leaders from a number of countries disagreed with austerity measures called for by the UK and others, said Reuters, with Britain's David Cameron earlier criticizing EU leaders for "tinkering" around instead of getting serious about cuts, reported SKY.
European Council President Herman Van Rompuy reportedly said bloc leaders will make another go at the budget in a follow-up meeting early next year, delegate sources told Reuters.
The decision quickly prompted sarcastic commentary on Twitter:
— Fabrizio Goria (@FGoria) November 23, 2012
The EU's last round of budget talks took place in 2005 and dragged on for six months, said Reuters.