EU aims for long-term budget deal in November
NICOSIA, Cyprus (AP) — A November summit will aim to reach agreement on a long-term budget for the 27-country European Union that will be designed to spur growth and solve the region's financial crisis, EU officials said Thursday.
European Commission Vice President Maros Sefcovic praised the "strong political will" of EU member states to reach a deal on the 2014-2020 multiannual financial framework, which forms the basis of the annual EU budget, by the end of the year.
But he rejected a Cyprus EU presidency suggestion to reduce the EU's overall spending levels.
"It was not acceptable to see that the proposal we made would be revised downwards," Sefcovic told a news conference following a meeting of EU affairs ministers in the Cypriot capital.
"We therefore underline the importance of respecting the proposal of the commission made because we believe this is a better response to the crisis and a better response for the future building of the European Union."
EU Commissioner Janusz Lewandowski said 15 EU member countries back the commission's proposal, while eight support cuts.
Cyprus' European Affairs Minister Andreas Mavroyiannis said the commission proposal envisions spending over the seven-year period to be 1.11 percent of the EU's Gross National Income, but some countries want to reduce that to around 1 percent, a difference of €114 billion ($142.4 billion).
But Lewandowski said cuts would mean less money to finance a growing EU, something which the commission disagrees with. He said the commission's proposed overall spending figure is based on next year's spending levels only adjusted for inflation.
No exact date for the November summit was given, but Mavroyiannis said it could take place in the second half of the month.