President of European Council takes over from Cyprus to steer talks on 2014-20 spending.
Herman Van Rompuy, the president of the European Council, will propose cuts to the European Union's multi-annual spending plan for 2014-20 that go beyond those proposed by Cyprus, the current holder of the rotating presidency of the Council of Ministers.
Van Rompuy discussed his intentions with José Manuel Barroso and Martin Schulz, the presidents of the European Commission and of the European Parliament, and Demetris Christofias, Cyprus's president, in Brussels today (13 November).
Van Rompuy's cuts are expected to be in the range of €100bn, depending on whether several big-ticket items that will be included in the MFF for the first time are counted as cuts. Van Rompuy's proposals appear to be in line with demands from the EU's main net contributors such as France and the United Kingdom.
In its last draft spending plan, Cyprus had proposed cuts of at least €50bn to the European Commission's proposal of €1,033bn but made it clear that this was the absolute minimum acceptable to member states. However, the EU's net recipients – gathered in the group of the ‘friends of cohesion policy' – are fighting to preserve regional spending.
The group is meeting in Brussels today under the leadership of Donald Tusk and Pedro Passos Coelho, the prime ministers of Poland and Portugal.
Cyprus has until now chaired the talks on the EU's multi-annual financial framework (MFF). But the next version of the MFF proposal is being prepared by Herman Van Rompuy's office in the form of draft European Council conclusions.
The leaders of the EU's 27 member states are scheduled to meet on 22-23 November for a make-or-break European Council on the MFF. The summit will be prepared by Europe ministers on 20 November and by national ambassadors to the EU on Thursday morning (15 November) – the first time that Van Rompuy's draft will be discussed.
The draft is based on bilateral consultations with all member states conducted by Van Rompuy's officials last week (5-9 November).
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