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EU leaders opened tough talks over a trillion-euro budget hours late Thursday amid sharp differences over spending cuts and investment for growth and jobs.
The meeting got underway almost six hours behind schedule as leaders of the 27-nation bloc held backroom talks and Britain, notably, pressed for huge cuts in EU spending over the rest of the decade.
EU president and chair of the talks, Herman Van Rompuy, said as the summit began that he had held productive discussions in recent weeks and was "confident that around this table we can now settle on a final compromise."
Leaders needed to keep in mind "the bigger picture," he said, adding: "We need a budget for the future with a clear focus on growth, innovation and creating jobs, especially for young people."