European leaders have finally agreed a budget deal for the rest of the decade after a marathon 25-and-a-half hour negotiation session in Brussels, that will lead to the first cut in EU spending in its 56-year history.
Herman Van Rompuy, the president of the European Council who chaired the negotiations, broke the news on Twitter. He tweeted at 4.22pm local time on Friday: “Deal done! #euco has agreed on #MFF for the rest of the decade. Worth waiting for.”
David Cameron, who had demanded a cut or at least a freeze in real terms in the near €1tn (£850bn) budget, will claim victory after the European Council president proposed a €34.4bn cut over the next seven years.
Van Rompuy finally clinched the deal after all-night talks, which finally took shape when he tabled budget proposals at 6am following a night of haggling at the EU summit that was described by one official as “like a bazaar”.
Cameron had sustained himself through the night with Haribos sweets and copious cups of coffee from a Nespresso machine in the UK delegation room at the EC’s Justus Lipsius building.
Shortly before 6.30am, the EU’s 27 leaders filed into the Council chamber to debate Van Rompuy’s proposal to cut the “payment ceiling”, likened to a credit card limit, for the next seven-year budget from €942.8bn to €908.4bn. This represents 0.95% of EU GNI – slightly below the 1% demanded by the German chancellor, Angela Merkel.
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