EU battle lines drawn over budget plans

 
City A.M. Reporter
EUROPEAN Union negotiators are close to securing UK and German backing for a deal on nearly a trillion euros of spending over the next seven years, but concessions will be needed to win support from France, Poland and some southern states.

European Council President Herman Van Rompuy, who is chairing the summit of EU leaders, has to win over London and northern European states furious at a proposed hike in EU spending over 2014-2020 by making deep cuts to the plans.

But in doing so he may have fostered an alliance between France, angry at proposals to cut the farm subsidies it gets from the budget, and countries in east Europe.

Britain and Germany, along with Sweden and the Netherlands, are insisting on deeper budget reductions.

“The bottom line here is that we think we can find significant savings – tens of billions – compared to what is on the table,” a British official told reporters. Sources said German Chancellor Angela Merkel was pushing for further cuts of about €30bn (£18bn).

The bulk of EU budget spending - around two-thirds of the annual €130bn outlay – goes on agriculture and poorer economies.