Britain to push EU budget deal
United Press International | June 20, 2005
By Gareth Harding
Britain will push for a deal on the European Union's long-term budget during its presidency of the bloc, says the Financial Times newspaper.
London received the lion's share of the blame for EU leaders' failure to reach an agreement on the union's $1 trillion budget for 2007-13 Thursday and Friday. In particular, Prime Minister Tony Blair was slammed for refusing to give up Britain's annual rebate from Brussels.
After the summit analysts ruled out a possible deal on the budget during Britain's six-month stint at the helm of the EU. But senior Downing Street officials told the FT, "We will make a serious and concerted effort to do a deal under our presidency."
The leaders of France and Germany publicly berated Blair's attitude during the bad-tempered talks. A U.K. official admitted, "It will be difficult to achieve agreement, of course, and this is a very hard time to take over the presidency. But a real attempt must be made."