Source Pravda.Ru

EU budget talks will be tough, says British PM

UK Prime Minister Tony Blair says the EU budget talks will be tough, but that all of the leaders meeting in Brussels know it is imperative a deal is struck. "I think that everybody realises that if we are going to do a deal on the budget, it's now," he said. Earlier, Swedish Prime Minister Goran Persson gave only a 50/50 chance of success for the UK-led proposals. The head of the European Commission, Jose Manuel Barroso, said he expects a new UK offer to be made on Friday.

Mr Barroso said he thought an agreement was possible, although he said there had been no discussions on figures.Speaking at the end of the first day of talks between leaders of the 25 member states, Mr Blair did not confirm the British would present a new proposal, but said it had always been anticipated that a fresh offer would be made. Criticism of the latest British offer, which includes an increase in the budget, more money to new member states and no new cuts to the UK's own rebate, has been widespread.

However, Mr Blair warned that a new offer would only be made if there was a real chance of agreement. "There has to be a basis for agreement otherwise there is no point in putting forward the proposal," he said. "I see a basis for it yes, but whether the basis for it will recommend itself to everyone I don't know." France and other EU states say any deal must be based on cuts to the UK rebate.

Britain has said it will offer no further concessions unless France agrees at least to allow the possibility of serious reform of agricultural policy in three years' time.Polish Prime Minister Kazimierz Marcinkiewicz said he expected a new UK proposal - the third in two weeks - to be on the table by 1000 GMT. Poland, which would get an extra 1.2bn euros (Ј814m) under the current offer, has said it will veto the proposal as it stands.

Before the summit opened, French President Jacques Chirac said any agreement must be based on a "lasting" cut in the UK rebate.

France wants to defend the EU's agricultural policy from any attempt at reform and demands the UK gives up more of the rebate it receives on its budget contribution to help pay for EU expansion.

In theory, EU leaders have until March to hammer out a deal, but planning for long-term projects could be hurt, the BBC's Oana Lungescu in Brussels says. Europe is already in crisis after the rejection of its first constitution earlier this year, our correspondent says. If its leaders fail to agree on the budget now, they will find it hard to agree on almost everything else, she adds. The new UK proposal would increase the 2007-13 budget by 2.5bn euros (Ј1.7bn) compared with its first proposal, issued a week ago, reports BBC news. I.L.

The discovery of the submarine has unveiled a few "inconsistencies." For example, how can one explain the fact that the sub was found where it needed to be searched for from the start?

Argentina hides the truth about the death of San Juan submarine
Comments
Russia close to recognising Donetsk and Luhansk republics after Donbass elections
Unemployment in Russia hits record high of 15 percent
Third Rome and geopolitics of Orthodox schism
Putin wants Russian army rearmed almost completely by 2021
Japan ratifies agreement to supply weapons and ammo to warring states
Argentina hides the truth about the death of San Juan submarine
Argentina hides the truth about the death of San Juan submarine
Putin and Erdogan launch first section of TurkStream pipeline in Istanbul
Why Trump tries to re-industrialize America
Why Trump tries to re-industrialize America
Unemployment in Russia hits record high of 15 percent
Kuril Islands dispute between Russia and Japan: The impossible is impossible
Russia to ban capture of killer whales and belugas in 2019
North Korea destroys security points in demilitarised zone
Russia to ban capture of killer whales and belugas in 2019
Third Rome and geopolitics of Orthodox schism
Five years after Maidan revolution, Ukraine remains one of Europe's most corrupt states
The Amazon and the New Conquistadores
Brexit: The UK's misunderstanding of Democracy
The Amazon and the New Conquistadores
The Amazon and the New Conquistadores