EU budget agreement "not there yet" - Hollande

PARIS Sun Feb 3, 2013 8:51pm GMT

France's President Francois Hollande looks at a crowd in Independence Plaza in Bamako, Mali February 2, 2013. REUTERS/Joe Penney

France's President Francois Hollande looks at a crowd in Independence Plaza in Bamako, Mali February 2, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Joe Penney

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PARIS (Reuters) - President Francois Hollande said on Sunday France was keen to agree the European Union's 2014-2020 budget at a summit in Brussels next week, but there was still much work to be done.

The 27-nation bloc failed to agree on its 1 trillion euro ($1.37 trillion) budget at a meeting in November.

"We will do everything to find an agreement at the next summit, but conditions are not there yet," Hollande told reporters, flanked by Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti.

Hollande said there was still time to reach a deal before the summit starts on Thursday.

Monti said he hoped a deal could be found on the basis of a package that European governments discussed late last year.

"I hope that the system that will follow will be fairer," Monti said.

Monti wants a reform of the EU system of rebates, arguing that Italy's contribution to the budget is out of proportion to its real wealth. Some net contributors, such as Britain, have demanded deep reductions in EU spending plans.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has urged her EU partners on to work together to get a deal. <ID:L5N0B08B1>

Hollande also voiced concern about recent strengthening of the euro against the currencies of major trading partners.

"The markets have welcomed with magnitude, with excess, via the level of the euro, the confidence they place in the countries that make up the (euro) zone," he said.

The euro last week reached its highest level in 14 months against the dollar and in 33 months against the yen.

A strengthening euro would weigh on exports from euro-zone countries, as well as reducing the cost of imports.

(Reporting by Elizabeth Pineau; Writing by Elena Berton; Editing by Robin Pomeroy and Jason Webb)

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Comments (1)
2writestoo wrote:
So in the interest of communal harmony the French will give up their Agricultural subsidies and hand the money over to Brussels? Good for you Francoise these subsidies are currently used in France to subsidise the cost of the sugar industry and other food factory goods. If these subsidies to factories were lost it would mean the loss of circa 2,000 French jobs. Alternatively perhaps the money handed back by France (guffaw) will go toward the massive financial subsidies agreed for Southern Italy to be paid out after the upcoming budget increase is approved. That would be the Italy that wants rebates to Britain to be cut so presumably the UK would double the amount it pays into the EU trough gobbles association making the UK the largest net contributor of all 27 countries. The additional monies from the UK will no doubt go to Monti’s Italy to redress the balance between the rich and the poor countries in Europe. According to the “Report for Selected Countries and Subjects” Italy has the world’s third-largest gold reserves, eighth-largest nominal GDP, tenth highest GDP (PPP) and the sixth highest government budget in the world. Compared to Spain, Greece, Portugal, Ireland and Cyprus, Italy is positively princely. So there we have it the French and Italians have agreed to attempt to force the UK to give up its rebate, France will maintain her agricultural subsidies and the Italians will walk off with the Uk’s rebate cash, DEAL DONE

Feb 03, 2013 12:16am GMT  --  Report as abuse
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