Nov. 23 - EU leaders' talks on their budget from 2014-2020 ended without an agreement on Friday. A fresh proposal had offered concessions to France and Poland but ignored British and German demands for deeper overall spending cuts. Joanna Partridge reports from Brussels.
UPSOUND SOUNDBITE: Swedish Prime Minister, Fredrik Reinfeldt, saying (English): "I'm not in a hurry, it will take a long time." It's lucky Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt isn't in a rush, as it doesn't look like he and the EU's other leaders are going to be able to agree on their next 7-year budget any time soon. The 27 member states have hit stalemate over how much money to spend between 2014-2020 and what to spend it on. The latest proposal from European Council President Herman Van Rompuy suggests reducing cuts to agricultural subsidies, which would benefit France and Poland. But it doesn't trim the entire budget - leaving Britain and Germany unhappy. SOUNDBITE: British Prime Minister, David Cameron, saying (English): "There really is a problem in terms of there hasn't been the progress in cutting back proposals for additional spending. It isn't a time for tinkering, it isn't a time for moving money from one part of the budget to another. We need unaffordable spending cut." German Chancellor Angela Merkel expects the leaders to have to meet again early next year to come to an agreement. Holger Schmieding from Berenberg Bank says this may not be a bad thing. SOUNDBITE: Holger Schmieding, Chief Economist, Berenberg Bank,saying (English): "These things typically take some time. It would not have been the first time that the EU delays the deadline a little and all in all in the most pressing task for the EU at the moment is not to fix the finances for the next 10 years but to deal with issues such as Greece for the next few months." PTC The construction work taking place in Brussels isn't indicative of austerity - the EU's building a new summit venue next to its current one. But some say investment is what's needed to get the economy growing. One leader seemed to be tightening his belt. Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy ditched his car and arrived at the summit on foot. Justin Urquhart Stewart says the leaders need to pull together. SOUNDBITE: Justin Urquhart Stewart, Managing Director, Seven Investment Management, saying (English): "The silly politics is ignoring what's in front of us which is you need the EU and the euro zone to start seeing some growth. Therefore it is quite within their power to actually say let's have a budget which actually focusses on growth." The euro hit a three-week high against the dollar as hopes rose that Greece's lenders were close to an agreement which will release the latest bailout funds. Still, the 500 million citizens of the EU will be also looking for reassurances that their leaders have a sound sense of what the years ahead will hold.