BRUSSELS Nov 23 European Union leaders failed
to reach agreement on a new seven-year budget for their troubled
bloc, calling off talks in less than two days after most
countries rejected deeper spending cuts demanded by Britain and
European Council President Herman Van Rompuy decided to end
a summit on the 2014-2020 EU budget, worth about 1 trillion
euros, and try again early next year rather than continue
negotiating into the weekend.
Following are comments by EU leaders and officials after
FRENCH PRESIDENT FRANCOIS HOLLANDE
ON CHANGES TO REBATES FOR NET CONTRIBUTORS:
"France will continue to push for a change to the way these
rebates are calculated and keep asking for all countries to
contribute to their payment."
BRITISH PRIME MINISTER DAVID CAMERON
ON POSSIBILITY OF A BUDGET DEAL:
"From a budget of nearly 1 trillion euros, it is simply not
acceptable to carry on tinkering around the edges and shuffling
chunks of money from one part of the budget to another. We need
to cut unaffordable spending.
"And that is why we and others rejected the deal that was on
the table. But we still believe that a deal is absolutely
ON FREEZING EU BUDGET LEVEL:
"Freezing the budget is not an extreme position, it is
"It is possible and it would not result in my view in the
hardship of any member state.
"There is no excuse whatever for not taking a much tougher
approach towards the EU's administrative costs.
"The idea that EU institutions are unwilling to even
consider these sorts of changes is insulting to European
ON HERMAN VAN ROMPUY'S BUDGET PROPOSALS:
"We can't increase spending in the EU when we are cutting at
home. We rejected an attempt to commit British and European
taxpayers to real terms increases.
"Frankly, the deal on the table from the president of the
European Council was just not good enough. It wasn't good enough
for Britain and it wasn't good enough for a number of other
"Together we had a very clear message: we are not going to
be tough on budgets at home and then come here and sign up to
big increases in European spending."
EUROPEAN COUNCIL PRESIDENT HERMAN VAN ROMPUY
ON POSSIBLE CUTS IN EU BUDGET:
"There were some who wanted lesser cuts and some who wanted
more, so I kept the line, not excluding that in further stages
we will have to modify the level of expenditures. But I am
proceeding in stages.
"My feeling is that we can go further... it has to be
balanced and well prepared, not in the mood of improvisation,
because we are touching upon jobs, we are touching upon
ON POSSIBILITY OF REACHING AGREEMENT:
"The bilateral talks yesterday and the constructive
discussion within the European Council show a sufficient degree
of potential convergence to make an agreement possible in the
beginning of next year. We should be able to bridge existing
LITHUANIAN PRESIDENT DALIA GRYBAUSKAITE
"Net paymasters are not ready to agree to this level of
payments, they want to cut them even more, by at least 30
"The next meeting will be in the beginning of next year
probably in January, February. The atmosphere was surprisingly
good because the divergence in opinions was so large that there
was nothing to argue about.
"It was not only Britain, all the net paymasters were not
ready to agree to this level of spending and still asking for at
least 30 billion of cuts. (EU Council President) Herman Van
Rompuy got our authorisation to prepare a new proposal for the
beginning of next year."
Following are earlier comments by EU leaders and officials
ahead of Friday's session:
GERMAN CHANCELLOR ANGELA MERKEL
"We had the opportunity to study the proposals of Mr Van
Rompuy last night. I believe that we won't get where we want to
be in this round either, which is a unanimous decision. We will
discuss this now.
"I have always said that it wouldn't be dramatic if today
were only the first step, we will see in the next hours. I think
the positions are still far apart and if we need a second round
we will take the time to do it."
FINNISH PRIME MINISTER JYRKI KATAINEN
ON VAN ROMPUY'S REVISED PROPOSAL:
"It's very close to what he proposed a few days ago, so the
differences weren't that big. He had reallocated some resources
but the overall level was exactly the same (as) what was in his
previous proposal. It's very difficult to say how far we can go
today, everything is open."
"I do hope that we can move on, but if that is not possible
we have to come back some other day. Everything seems to be
open. Some opinions are very far from each other and it's very
difficult to assess at the moment what will happen today."
BRITISH PRIME MINISTER DAVID CAMERON
"I don't think there has been enough progress so far.
"I mean there really is a problem in terms of there hasn't
been the progress in cutting back proposals for additional
"It isn't a time for tinkering, it isn't a time for moving
money from one part of the budget to another.
"We need unaffordable spending cut. That is what is
happening at home, that's what needs to happen here."
AUSTRIAN CHANCELLOR WERNER FAYMANN
"The first thing is that I don't see an agreement among the
27 members. One of my main concerns is that we get anything
together at all that will last for seven years.
"In an economic crisis, that should be our first goal, that
you get a seven-year budget together if you are holding speeches
about growth every day. I think we are still some way away from
reaching that goal."