Leaders agree cut to EU spending
By Joshua Chaffin and Alex Barker in Brussels
Leaders agreed the first ever cut to the European Union budget after setting spending to the end of the decade at €960bn. The deal emerged after a bruising battle that saw Britain’s David Cameron lead demands for deep cuts to reflect the austerity undertaken by many governments and François Hollande, French president, rallying the defence of EU spending to help recession-hit economies. High quality global journalism requires investment. Please share this article with others using the link below, do not cut & paste the article. See our Ts&Cs and Copyright Policy for more detail. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to buy additional rights. http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/64fadd22-71c8-11e2-886e-00144feab49a.html#ixzz2KPZR3Ybm Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, helped broker the deal with Herman Van Rompuy, the European Council president, which includes a €1bn cut in spending on the Brussels bureaucracy and big reductions in cross-border infrastructure projects supposed to boost growth. However, €6bn was set aside for a special fund to tackle youth unemployment, which has spiralled following the financial crisis. “It is perhaps nobody’s perfect budget, but there’s a lot in it for everybody,” said Mr van Rompuy. The seven-year budget, covering 2014-2020, is 3 per cent less than the current budget, and well below the €1,033bn first proposed by the European Commission, the EU’s executive arm, at the outset of negotiations. The compromise sets the figure for budget “commitments” – the maximum amount of money allotted during the seven-year period – at €959.8bn, while budget “payments” – the amount of money that can actually be spent – are more sharply reduced by €34bn to €908.4bn. But in an ominous warning of trouble ahead, Martin Schulz, president of the European parliament, said his institution might yet reject it. “The further we step away from the commission’s proposed figures, the more likely...
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