Merkel: EU budget deal may not happen this week

BRUSSELS Thu Nov 22, 2012 5:47pm GMT

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BRUSSELS (Reuters) - German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Thursday it may not be possible to reach an agreement on the European Union's seven-year budget this week and a further round of negotiations may be required at a later date.

Merkel, whose country is the biggest net contributor to EU coffers, said it was important to restrain and make better use of European spending and played down the likelihood of a deal at a two-day summit starting on Thursday.

"It is important that we arrive at a solution. Whether that can happen now in these two days, Thursday and Friday, I don't know. Germany wants to reach the goal but it may be that we need a further stage," she told reporters on arrival in Brussels.

(Reporting by John O'Donnell; Writing by Paul Taylor)