Brussels.- By Athena Arsalidou/ (CNA)
No political agreement was reached at the extraordinary European Council that took place Thursday and Friday in Brussels on the Union’s next seven year budget.
In a statement issued by the members of the European Council it is noted that the European Council gives its President (Herman van Rompuy) the mandate together with the President of the European Commission (Jose Barroso) to continue the work and pursue consultations in the coming weeks to find a consensus among the 27 over the Union`s Multiannual Financial Framework for the period 2014-2020.
“The bilateral talks 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”, the members of the European Council stress.
They note that “we should be able to bridge existing divergences of views. A European budget is important for the cohesion of the Union and for jobs and growth in all our countries”.
On Thursday, the first summit day, Herman Van Rompuy and the President of the European Commission, Jose Manuel Barroso, held bilateral consultations with the heads of state and government of the EU member states.
The Summit began in the evening, where Rompuy presented a revised draft conclusions paper based on his bilateral meetings.
The discussions continued Friday but no consensus was reached between the member states.
In her statements earlier German Chancellor Angela Merkel said that maybe a second session would be needed in order to close the MFF. She did not rule out the possibility of a new extraordinary European Council at the beginning of next year.
The Commission’s proposal for the next seven years is 1,025 billion in commitments (1.05% of the EU GNI) and 972.2 billion (1% of EU GNI) in payments.
The revised Negotiating Box for the MFF prepared by the Cyprus EU Presidency included savings across all headings of the MFF amounting to at least 50 + (plus) billion euro.
The draft conclusions for the European Council prepared by Rompuy’s office, include savings of at least 80 billion euro.
The draft Council conclusions include further reductions on the overall expenditure ceilings and on the expenditure ceilings for various categories of expenditure: Competitiveness, Cohesion, Natural Resources, Security and Citizenship, Global Europe and Administration.