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EU battles to reach agreement on budget

Nov 12, 2013
From wire reports, RIGA

European Union officials have reached an agreement on the 2014 budget after tough negotiations on Tuesday, Nov. 12, reports LETA

Under the compromise deal, the budget will include 135.5 billion euros in payments and 142.6 billion euros in commitments.

Negotiations stretched into early Tuesday hours to resolve a split over next year's spending between the bloc's three bodies - the 28 member states, the European Parliament and the executive European Commission.

The austerity-minded governments had wanted to keep payments under 135 billion euros, which was 1 billion euros 1.5 billion euros less than sought by the EU executive and parliament, respectively.

"We have agreed to reinforce the financing of such priority areas as economic growth, jobs, innovation and humanitarian aid," said Algimantas Rimkunas, the deputy finance minister of Lithuania, which currently holds the six-month rotating EU presidency.

"EU agencies dealing with migration, asylum and border control were strengthened, as were European financial supervisory authorities," he said in a statement.

The 2014 budget is more than nine percent lower than the one the previous year: spending is 9.4 percent less while payments are 9.5 percent lower than the budget of 2013.

Ministers and lawmakers are now due to approve the new budget on Nov. 19 and 20.

The budget agreement also paves the way for the European Parliament to adopt next week the EU's long-term trillion-euro budget for 2014-2020.

A vote on the seven-year budget, known as the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF), was postponed to Nov. 19 because of the row over the 2014 budget.

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