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EU 2014-2020 budget deal done: EU's Van Rompuy

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

European Union leaders finally clinched a deal on the bloc's next 2014-2020 budget, summit chair and EU president Herman Van Rompuy said Friday.

"Deal done!" Van Rompuy said on Twitter after more than 24 hours of tough talks between the bloc's 27 heads of state and government.

"Worth waiting for," Van Rompuy said of arduous talks that began at 1400 GMT on Thursday and lasted through the night.

Reflecting Europe's tough economic times, it will be the EU's first austerity budget in six decades, with initial reports indicating a tentative agreement to trim spending by three percent.

British Prime Minister David Cameron, apparently backed by German Chancellor Angela Merkel, led a sustained push to prevent any increase in spending at a time of austerity for all.

France, along with Italy, fought to protect spending essential to boost growth and jobs at a time of record unemployment.

An initial draft set actual spending or "payments" for 2014 through 2020 at 908.4 billion euros ($1.2 trillion), with an absolute ceiling of 960 billion euros for spending "commitments" to the budget.

That is just one percent of the bloc's gross domestic product.

It would represent a 3.0 percent cut from the 2007-13 budget.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130208/eu-2014-2020-budget-deal-done-eus-van-rompuy