Talks over EU Budgets fail

City A.M. Reporter
TALKS between European Union lawmakers and the bloc’s governments over the size of the EU’s 2011 budget collapsed yesterday, threatening to throw EU finances into disarray.

The EU budget is a highly sensitive issue this year in many of the EU’s 27 member states, especially in Britain, because many governments are slashing spending at home and are under pressure to reject big increases in EU expenditure.

The deadline for an agreement is 15 November and negotiators have scheduled a last-ditch meeting for Monday.

Failure to agree on the budget would undermine many EU programmes, such as the bloc’s new diplomatic service and multi-billion euro nuclear fusion project ITER, said budget commissioner Janusz Lewandowski.

By law, unless a deal is reached, next year’s EU spending will be the same as in 2010 and disbursed in 12 equal instalments through the year.

“Not to have a budget would be a very bad message to the European public. We would be left ... without the ability to finance ITER and the external action service and the solidarity mechanism,” Lewandowski said, referring to aid for EU countries struck by natural disasters.