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Negotiators reach agreement on EU budget pact

The European Union moved closer to settling a divisive budget dispute after negotiators rejected most demands for more spending, increasing a seven-year sum by €2 billion to €864 billion, Bloomberg reported.

The 2007-2013 EU budget breakthrough is a bigger retreat for the European Parliament than for EU member states, the main contributors who struck an €862 billion deal in December. The Parliament last June proposed €975 billion and earlier this year scaled back that demand to €874 billion.
”We have reached a compromise after long and difficult negotiations,” Finance Minister Karl-Heinz Grasser of Austria, current holder of the EU's rotating presidency, said late yesterday in Strasbourg. “All sides had to move.” In addition to increasing the 2007-13 budget by €2 billion, the Parliament negotiators won an extra €2 billion for an emergency reserve outside the budget framework, according to Grasser and Parliament officials. The spending increases will go to areas including education, research, infrastructure and foreign policy.
“I'm not satisfied, but this was the best achievable result,” Reimer Boege, a German budget negotiator for the EU Parliament, said today at the assembly's headquarters in Strasbourg, France. The full 732-seat Parliament and the EU's 25 national governments must endorse the accord reached by their negotiators late yesterday.