Friday, February 26, 1999 Published at 15:31 GMT
EU leaders clash over budget
Farmers in Bonn protested against planned cuts to the CAP
Leaders of the European Union are meeting for what is expected to be a stormy one-day summit in Bonn to try to reach a deal on the EU's financing.
Unless the EU reforms its finances, it will be unlikely to be able to fund the entry into the union of Cyprus, Malta and 10 East European countries in the years ahead.
The Bonn summit will give each country an opportunity to put its case, but several states are so divided on the issue, that there is no chance of an agreement on Friday, according to our correspondent.
The European Union's richer, northern countries - led by Germany - are seeking to freeze the budget and want to cut their contributions. Germany says it contributes 21bn Deutschmarks ($13 bn) more to the EU than it gets back.
Ahead of the summit, Spanish Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar warned that he planned to defend EU funding for his country.
UK Prime Minister Tony Blair is expected to come under intense pressure at the Bonn summit to make concessions on Britain's contribution to the EU.
Blair defends rebate
Several countries want Britain to give ground on its annual £2bn rebate on its contribution to the EU budget, won by former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in 1984. France and Germany are among those wanting to see it cut or scrapped.
"The justification for the British rebate is not simply that we got it and therefore we hold it.
"It is there to compensate us for for the fact that we are big net contributors to the EU and in order to make the system fair and equitable," Mr Blair said.