Budget talks cancelled

MEPs refuse to attend last-ditch negotiations with member states tonight on the EU’s 2013 budget.

Last-ditch talks on the EU’s budget for 2013 scheduled for tonight have been cancelled after MEPs refused to attend.  

Martin Schulz, the president of the European Parliament, told prime ministers from 15 member states meeting in Brussels today that the MEPs would not attend tonight’s negotiations because several member states are steadfast in their opposition to a top-up request from the European Commission for €9 billion under the 2012 budget.

The MEPs’ refusal means that the European Commission’s current draft budget for 2013 has failed to gain the required backing of the European Parliament and of a weighted majority of member states.  

Alain Lamassoure, the Parliament’s lead negotiator on the budget, said just hours before the meeting was supposed to start that the negotiations cannot resume as long as the member states refuse to approve the Commission’s request for additional funds under the 2012 budget.  

The hardline opponents of the request are Britain, Denmark, the Netherlands and Sweden. They are backed, with less fervour, by Austria, Finland, France and Germany. Informal talks will now resume to see whether any compromise might be possible.  

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