(MENAFN - Qatar News Agency) European Union leaders agreed Friday to a significantly reduced 7-year budget worth 960 billion euros (1.28 trillion)" the first cut in spending in the 27-country group's history.
European Council President Herman Van Rompuy announced that the agreement had been reached after two days of nearly round-the-clock negotiations" the longest negotiations of his tenure in office.
The final total was about 40 billion less than the European Commission had originally proposed. The issue of what to give to the EU was made more difficult because, he said, its members were struggling with poor economic growth and harsh austerity measures.
"We simply could not ignore the extremely difficult economic realities across Europe," Van Rompuy told reporters. "It had to be a leaner budget." He said it would amount to 1 percent of the European Union's gross national income.
The final number was far less than the 1.03 euros trillion (1.38 trillion) the EU's executive arm, the European Commission, had originally proposed. The 959.988 billion euros total will cover the years 2014-2020; the budget for the years 2007-2013 was 975.777 billion euros.