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Van Rompuy to make new EU budget offer to save summit

20.11.12 | News

European Union president Herman Van Rompuy is to make new proposals on the bloc's hotly-contested trillion-euro budget in hopes of saving an extraordinary summit this week feared to end in failure.

A working dinner between EU president Herman van Rompuy and Europe ministers produced "a constructive exchange of views", highlighting that "all member states show commitment to reach a decision", Andreas Mavroyiannis, the minister for Cyprus, said Tuesday, EUbusiness reported.

Mavroyiannis, whose country currently holds the rotating EU presidency, said Van Rompuy would present a new proposal "to take into account the input from member states."

"My own take is that he believes he's not far from what he considers is a landing-zone," he said. "We believe an agreement is possible."

"All of us must go the extra mile," he said at a news conference.

Already weakened by three years of economic crisis, the 27-nation bloc faces more trauma at the two-day summit starting Thursday.

Run-up talks have exposed stark divisions between pro- and anti-austerity nations, as well as between the haves and have-nots.

Europe's leaders begin the talks on the EU's next seven-year budget at 1900 GMT, with Britain's premier David Cameron in the role of spoiler though most governments are putting national interest well above shared concerns.

In the face of Britain's austerity-minded determination to secure a cut of up to 240 billion euros in the 2014-2020 budget, Van Rompuy, who will broker the talks, last week suggested a 75-billion-euro cut to the proposed 1.047 trillion euro ($1.3 trillion) budget.

But that made no one happy.

Van Rompuy is to hold bilaterals through Thursday before leaders come together for a summit many tip could extend into Saturday or even Sunday.