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EU presidency finalising compromise formula on budget
2005-06-17 15:28:42

by Maria Myles

Brussels, Jun 17 (CNA) -- The Luxembourg European Union presidency is finalising a compromise formula, ''a negotiating box'', on the EU budget which it will present to the 25 leaders for discussion, when they return to their deliberations tonight.

The leaders will reconvene after a four-hour recess, during which the presidency held bilateral consultations with Britain, The Netherlands and Sweden.

Diplomatic sources here believe that once the leaders begin what is expected to be their last working session at this summit, it will not take them too long before they conclude.

Whether they reach a compromise agreement on the EU budget or fail to do so, the presidency is likely to declare the summit closed instead of allowing lengthy discussions to carry on well into the night, in particular if disagreements persist.

A compromise agreement would mean a successful conclusion to this summit, at least with regard to the EU budget, which has so far caused much controversy among member states.

According to the same sources, Cyprus seems to have secured all it had asked for and appears satisfied with arrangements, provided an agreement is reached on the budget.

Meanwhile, the common declaration EU leaders had talked about on Thursday about the process of ratification of the EU Constitution has not surfaced so far during today's sessions. However, this issue will have to be sorted out so that the text of the conclusions will take its final form.

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