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Business

EU confirms extraordinary summit on bloc's budget

The European Union's 2014-2020 budget will be debated at a meeting of state and government leaders in November. EU President Herman Van Rompuy looks set to face a storm of conflicting interests.

An extraordinary summit of EU leaders on budgetary issues is scheduled to take place in Brussels on November 22-23, Dirk De Backer, a spokesman for EU President Herman Van Rompuy confirmed on Monday.

"President Van Rompuy has convened this summit on the future financial framework," De Backer told AFP news agency. The 27-member bloc is being urged to settle an ongoing battle over about a trillion euros ($1.25 trillion) in overall spending during the 2014 to 2020 seven-year cycle.

"It's necessary that we reach a deal before the end of the current year," the European Council said in a statement as member states appeared locked in protracted negotiations on the details of their funding mechanism.

The devil's in the detail

The November summit looks certain to be accompanied by more fights over farm subsidies and aid for economically depressed regions. There will also be a fiery debate on whether or to what extent the EU should be allowed to raise more of its own money, through taxes on financial transactions, for example.

Cutting extensive support for farmers has been a taboo for France, while generous spending for poor regions to improve their infrastructure has so far been untouchable by newer EU members such as Poland.

EU leaders were already due to meet for summits in mid-October and mid-December, but officials said there would be no time at those regular meetings to debate the EU's future budget as the focus would be entirely on more bailout funds for Greece and loans for the ailing banking sector in Spain.

hg/mz (AFP, dapd)