Saturday February 9, 2013

BRUSSELS (AP) -- European Union leaders have agreed to a budget worth (euro) 960 billion ($1.3 trillion), a significantly reduced sum that represents the first decrease in a budget in the union’s history.

European Council President Herman Van Rompuy said Friday that the agreement had been reached after two days of negotiations.

A senior EU official said the final number for the seven-year budget was (euro) 960 billion -- much less than the (euro) 1.03 trillion that the EU’s executive arm, the EU Commission, originally proposed.

The two-day fight over what the EU pledged to spend on everything from infrastructure to development aid laid bare divisions over what the role of the union should be.

"It’s done!" a spokesman for German Chancellor Angela Merkel tweeted. "The 27 EU members have agreed on a budgetary framework for 2014-2020. Europe has shown itself to be capable of acting."

The EU Parliament must still approve the deal -- and they have suggested that such drastic cuts are unacceptable.


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