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EU leaders suspend budget talks until noon Friday

23 november 2012, 10:45
European Union leaders on Friday called an overnight suspension of talks aimed at reaching a deal on a hotly contested long-term budget, AFP reports according to the EU diplomats.

"We need to give delegations time to examine new proposals" on the 2014-2020 budget submitted by EU president Herman Van Rompuy, a French diplomatic source told AFP.

The talks will resume at noon on Friday, several diplomats said.

The summit was suspended after less than an hour and a half, having begun hours late following sharp differences on spending between the bloc's have and have-not nations.

A new draft proposal from Van Rompuy aimed at accommodating the 27 different points of view of the EU member states was circulated to heads of state and government for discussion at a brief dinner.

The talks followed a gruelling day of face-to-face meetings between EU president Herman Van Rompuy and each of the bloc's leaders, followed by a flurry of backroom bilaterals to discuss a trillion-euro 2014-2020 budget.

"Maybe this meeting will be long and complicated," Van Rompuy told the leaders -- referring to the whole summit rather than the suspended session. "We have to work for a deal with the European interest in mind."

Before wrapping up for the night, leaders first nominated Luxembourg's Yves Mersch to the executive board of the European Central Bank.

Before the talks the leaders of France and Germany, Francois Hollande and Angela Merkel, called for compromise as they arrived while British Prime Minister David Cameron threatened to wield his veto.

Britain is the most vocal of a group of austerity-driven nations seeking cuts in the EU budget to match belt-tightening programmes at home.

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