EU budget chaos: Danish PM warns summit to end unresolved as leaders continue to clash

Speaking to reporters at the European Council, Ms Frederiksen claimed there will probably be another summit in March to reach an agreement on the future EU budget as leaders across the bloc continue to clash. Denmark is one of the countries so-called “frugal four” who have been strictly opposed to the European Council President Charles Michel’s proposals. She said: “I think the group of four it’s quite clear in how we see the discussions about the budget and we have said that yesterday to all our colleagues and also Michel.

“I don’t think anyone is interested in having a discussion about bragging today.

“We are still negotiating. The position from our part of the discussions is quite clear.”

Asked whether she believes an agreement will be reached this weekend, she said: “Are you asking if we’re going to resolve the whole bucket discussions this weekend?

“No, I don’t think so. I’m willing to stay and I’m prepared to stay the whole weekend but I don’t think we’re going to reach an agreement.”

Asked whether another summit will be required next month, she replied: “Yes, probably. It’s not my decision when.”

The European Union’s 27 leaders will today resume talks aimed at resolving their stand-off over a one trillion euros common budget for the next seven years.

European Council President Charles Michel, the summit chairman, held individual meetings with each of the 27 leaders overnight, while those waiting met in pairs and small groups as experts crunched the numbers behind the scenes.

At last word, the leaders were set to all meet together again at 11am (1000 GMT).

But like much about this marathon money summit, nothing can be set in stone.

What is really at stake is whether the leaders are ready to put their money where their mouths are when it comes to European policy ambitions, like fighting climate change and developing the digital economy.

At the same time, they cannot afford to give the impression to their home audiences that they are splashing taxpayers’ cash when economic growth is limited.

With the UK gone from their ranks, the leaders want to prove that Europe can still forge ahead toward brighter horizons, but Brexit has left them with a sizeable budget hole – about 75 billion euros over seven years.

In the great scheme of things this is not a huge amount of money for the world’s biggest trading bloc.

Even if a trillion euros sounds like a lot, it actually amounts to about 1 percent of the gross national income of the 27 nations combined.

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The debate is over some 0.3 percentage points.

Mr Michel came into the summit with a draft budget at 1.074 percent of EU gross national income.

The European Parliament wants an ambitious 1.3 percent, while the EU’s powerful executive arm, the European Commission, prefers 1.11 percent.

It is not just about convincing reluctant member countries to stump up funds.

The parliament must also ratify any final budget agreement and for the moment EU politicians are far from happy.

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