The Heads of State or Government of the European Union gathered today in Brussels for a two-day special meeting of the European Council on the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) 2014 - 2020.
Negotiations on the new budget were expected to be very tough, against the backdrop of economic crisis, and high tensions between the Member States who want to reduce EU spending and the others in favour of the European Commission's proposal. Eleven EU Leaders so far have threatened to veto the EU budget unless they get a better deal.
Ahead of the European Council, Herman Van Rompuy, President of the European Council, and José Manuel Barroso, President of the EC, held bilateral meetings all day long with several Member States to try to find an agreement.
Only the original language version is authentic and it prevails in the event of its differing from the translated versions.
||Arrival of Janez Janša, Slovenian Prime Minister - SOUNDBITE (Slovenian) on the EU budget
||Arrival of Viktor Orbán, Hungarian Prime Minister
||Roundtable of Valdis Dombrovskis, Latvian Prime Minister, with Herman Van Rompuy, President of the European Council, and José Manuel Barroso, President of the EC
||Roundtable of Pedro Passos Coelho, Portuguese Prime Minister, with Herman Van Rompuy and José Manuel Barroso
||Roundtable of Boyko Borissov, Bulgarian Prime Minister, with Herman Van Rompuy and José Manuel Barroso
||Roundtable of Mario Monti, Italian Prime Minister, with Herman Van Rompuy and José Manuel Barroso
||Arrival of Angela Merkel, German Federal Chancellor - SOUNDBITE (German) on the EU budget, saying that it is important to restrain and make better use of European spending. Saying also that each one will doubtless have to show a spirit of compromise. Altough it may not be possible to reach an agreement on the seven-year budget this week and a further round of negotiations may be required at a later date. - roundtable with Herman Van Rompuy and José Manuel Barroso
||Arrival of François Hollande, President of France - SOUNDBITE (French) on the EU budget saying that France defends a budget that should be enough to ensure that policies consisting of growth can be fully promoted. The budget must also be mastered because there are constraints across Europe. France and Europe have priorities which are research and innovation, transport, infrastructure, but also the common agricultural policy. Saying also that France and Germany are seeking to compromise, not an ultimatum. - roundtable with Herman Van Rompuy and José Manuel Barroso
||Arrival of Lawrence Gonzi, Maltese Prime Minister
||Arrival of David Cameron, British Prime Minister
||Arrival of Mariano Rajoy Brey, Spanish Prime Minister - SOUNDBITE (Spanish) on the EU budget, saying that negotiations won't be easy. Everyone is participating in the summit with the aim of reaching a deal. Outlining the Spanish priorities of spending, including agriculture and food industry, as well as cohesion funds. - roundtable with Herman Van Rompuy and José Manuel Barroso
||Arrival of Robert Fico, Slovakian Prime Minister - roundtable with Herman Van Rompuy and José Manuel Barroso
||Arrival of Antonis Samaras, Greek Prime Minister - SOUNDBITE (English) on the bailout, saying that Greece has done its part. Now it is the turn of EU partners and the IMF to deliver as well. Saying also that cohesion is an issue of competitiveness and growth for the whole of the EU, not just for the countries that have the greatest needs.
||Arrival of Jean-Claude Juncker, Prime Minister of Luxembourg and President of the Eurogroup - SOUNDBITE (English) saying that tonight he will have a meeting with the Greek Prime Minister on the bailout issue.
||Arrival of Werner Faymann, Austrian Federal Chancellor - SOUNDBITE (German) on the EU budget, saying that he expects the summit to last days and nights. It is also possible that agreement will be found in January or February next. Saying also that Austria will not accept to lose its rebate, and is opposing proposed cuts in EU spending on rural development. - roundtable with Herman Van Rompuy and José Manuel Barroso
||Arrival of Mark Rutte, Dutch Prime Minister
||Arrival of Petr Nečas, Czech Prime Minister
||Arrival of Valdis Dombrovskis
||Arrival of Frederik Reinfeldt, Swedish Prime Minister
||Arrival of Zoran Milanović, Croatian Prime Minister
||Arrival of Donald Tusk Polish Prime Minister
||Arrival of Traian Basescu, Romanian President
||Arrival of Jyrki Katainen, Finnish Prime Minister
||Arrival of Helle Thorning-Schmidt, Danish Prime Minister - SOUNDBITE (Danish) on the EU budget
||Arrival of Martin Schulz, President of the European Parliament
||Arrival of Demetris Christofias, President of Cyprus - SOUNDBITE (English) saying that he hopes that tonight or tomorrow, an agreement will be reached.
||Arrival of Enda Kenny, Irish Prime Minister - SOUNDBITE (English) on bank recapitalization and on the EU budget, saying that the EU faces a number of serious challenges regarding its budget. Ireland will strongly defend the potential of CAP and of the Cohesion Funds with a reference to employment. Saying that he will also raise the importance of the peace element of the funding for Northern Ireland. Today's discussions are starting from a very pessimistic basis. There has been some movement during the course of the day. It remains to see whether an agreement can actually be reached. In absence of agreement, Ireland which is a country in a programme would be in a very difficult position when running the EU Presidency as from January 1st.
||Arrival of Elio Di Rupo, Belgian Prime Minister