Page last updated at 15:48 GMT, Tuesday, 27 November 2012

EU summit debate

The European Commission president has said he rejects "populist and unpleasant attacks on the European budget", during a special debate with senior MEPs on 27 November 2012.

The meeting with the parliament's Conference of Presidents - made up of senior members of each political group - was held to take account of the failure of the recent European Council summit to reach agreement on the EU's long-term budget.

The seven year financial plan, known as the Multi-Annual Financial Framework, sets the EU's budgetary ceilings for the 2014-2020 period

Hours of talks failed to bridge big gaps between richer countries and those which rely most on EU funding.

Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso told MEPs that he hoped that national governments would use the extra time available to reach an agreement "constructively".

He insisted that the Commission's MFF proposals of €1.025tn focused on contributions to developing growth and jobs, such as the Europe 2020 scheme.

He was backed up by the leaders of the two largest political groups - EPP leader Joseph Daul and socialist leader Hannes Swoboda.

Mr Daul accused heads of government of behaving as "politicians rather than statesmen - focusing on the next election and not the next generation", whilst Mr Schulz said the summit had been dominated by "nationalism and egotism".

The UK said current EU spending levels must be frozen, and was broadly backed by countries including Germany, the Netherlands and Sweden.

Czech MEP Jan Zahradril from the Conservative group said it was becoming a "boring custom" to blame everything on the UK government and David Cameron.

He criticised his parliamentary colleagues of engaging in "inter-institutional fighting", and urged the European Parliament to work with governments that wanted to see the EU "live within its means".

European Council president Herman Van Rompuy said following the collapsed talks that he was confident a deal would be reached early next year.

"The cost of non-agreement is too high," he concluded.

If no agreement is reached during 2013 the existing budgetary ceilings will roll over on a monthly basis.

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