EU budget talks break down

Helle Thorning-Schmidt can now use the extra time to push for Denmark’s rebate in the long-term budget deal

November 23rd, 2012 5:32 pm| by admin

PM Helle Thorning-Schmidt will be leaving Brussels empty-handed. 

Thorning-Schmidt (Socialdemokraterne) and the leaders of the the other 26 EU countries were unable to come to an agreement on a long-term budget after two days of talks. The talks have now been pushed back until early next year, Reuters has reported.

That the talks broke down did not come as a surprise to German chancellor Angela Merkel, who told the press that "the positions are still far apart and if we need a second round we will take the time to do it."

The primary hang-up in reaching an agreement was the actual size of the budget. Countries pushing for deep austerity cuts, led by Germany and Britain, insisted that the EU should acknowledge the global economic crisis by approving a smaller budget. They have pushed for nearly a trillion euros of spending cuts over the next seven years.

During the talks, British PM David Cameron lamented that "there hasn't been the progress in cutting back proposals for additional spending."

Thorning-Schmidt entered the talks with her own agenda, threatening to veto the budget if Denmark doesn’t get the one billion kroner annual rebate it has already budgeted into its own national spending plans.

With the negotiations now tabled until 2013, the Danish PM will have more time to convince her EU counterparts to agree to the rebate.

The budget, which would cover the years 2014-2020, needs the consent of all 27 EU member states. In 2005, the last time the EU needed to hammer out a long-term budget deal, the negotiations ultimately took six months.

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