EU leaders enter bitter fight over budget

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Associated Press

Posted on November 22, 2012 at 4:30 PM

Updated Thursday, Nov 22 at 4:33 PM

BRUSSELS (AP) — The leaders of Britain and France are staking out starkly different visions of Europe's future as talks begin in Brussels on how much the European Union should be allowed to spend.

British Prime Minister David Cameron is seeking to keep payments into EU coffers down as low as possible. But French President Francois Hollande (frahn-SWAH' oh-LAWND') is calling for sustained subsidies for farming and development programs for poorer nations.

With each of the 27 nations having the power of veto over the 2014-2020 budget, the summit negotiations could stretch over the weekend, perhaps without result.

Cameron voiced the concerns of several other countries that do not want to see an increase in the bloc's spending plan at a time when many member states are cutting budgets at home.

The EU budget primarily funds programs to help farming and spur growth in the bloc's less developed members, and it amounts to about 1 percent of the EU's gross domestic product.

France's Hollande says that's worth fighting for, adding he would be happy to walk away from the meeting if his demands were not met.

SOUND:

136-a-19-(British Prime Minister David Cameron, with reporters)-"for Europe's taxpayers"-British Prime Minister David Cameron says proposals to increase the EU budget fly in the face of the economic woes faced by European countries. ((note cut length)) (22 Nov 2012)

<<CUT *136 (11/22/12)>> 00:19 "for Europe's taxpayers"

PHOTOS:

%@AP Links

APPHOTO VM344: British Prime Minister David Cameron, left front, shakes hands with Luxembourg's Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker, right rear, during a round table meeting at an EU summit in Brussels on Thursday, Nov. 22, 2012. EU leaders begin what is expected to be a marathon summit on the budget for the years 2014-2020. The meeting could last through Saturday and break up with no result and lots of finger-pointing. At right front is Malta's Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi. (AP Photo/Yves Logghe) (23 Nov 2012)

<<APPHOTO VM344 (11/23/12)>>

APPHOTO YL102: French President Francois Hollande, left, talks with Denmark's Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt, center, and Austrian Chancellor Werner Faymann, during an EU summit in Brussels on Thursday, Nov. 22, 2012. EU leaders begin what is expected to be a marathon summit on the budget for the years 2014-2020. The meeting could last through Saturday. (AP Photo/Yves Logghe) (23 Nov 2012)

<<APPHOTO YL102 (11/23/12)>>

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