EU leaders can't decide on 2007-2013 budget

The EU assembly would have to draft makeshift spending plans if EU leaders failed to reach a deal on a 2007-2013 budget by year's end, the European Parliament's president said Tuesday.

Josep Borrell called on British Prime Minister Tony Blair, whose country holds the rotating EU presidency, to restart budget talks, which collapsed at a June summit.

"If the UK presidency does not reach agreement on the budget by the year's end, we need to start work on a provisional budget for January," for the 2007 fiscal year, Borrell told reporters.

Under EU rules, the EU assembly and EU governments must come to agreement on the 25-nation bloc's spending plans, the AP says.

EU governments, however, have yet to agree on how much money they will put into EU coffers in the years ahead. European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso has also called on Blair to push ahead with the negotiations.

EU officials have warned that if a deal is delayed, spending on key EU aid programs in the EU's poorest nations could be at risk as coffers run dry. They said with no deal in sight, there would be little time left for bureaucrats at EU headquarters to allocate the funds.


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