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Germany

Germany Pushes For EU Budget Solution

Chancellor Gerhard Schröder has told British Prime Minister Tony Blair that he wants to reopen the fraught debate about the European Union budget at the EU summit in late October, the German government said on Friday. Schröder told Blair in a telephone conversation that "he wanted to move towards a solution" on the EU budget for the 2007-2013 period. Negotiations on the budget collapsed without a solution at a Brussels summit in June. The German government's chief spokesman, Bela Anda, told a press conference that Schröder had told Blair that "the proposals made by the Luxembourg presidency, which were acceptable for the large majority of the 25 member states, were still on the table." Luxembourg, which held the rotating EU presidency in the first half of this year, proposed spending limits and the phasing-out of Britain's rebate on contributions to the collective pot, but Blair refused to compromise. Britain, which took over the EU rotating presidency on July 1, has committed to finding an agreement on the budget before the end of the year. Germany was at the forefront of countries calling for the rebate to be renegotiated. The EU summit is scheduled at Hampton Court Palace near London on Oct. 27-28.

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