First round of EU talks "blunt"

Talks were "blunt" Thursday at the opening of a key summit as Europe's leaders girded themselves for more intense negotiations over future EU spending. Britain, under mounting pressure to compromise on the budget, said it would come back with a new proposal in the morning.

Swedish Prime Minister Goeran Persson said the first round Thursday night was "blunt. Now we start the negotiations," he said. Huge differences remain among the leaders, but everyone realizes the importance of securing a deal now, Persson said.

Failure to agree on a budget for 2007-2013 would propel the EU into financial crisis _ and could doom the notion of a unified &to=' target=_blank>European Union.

"I think people are determined to try, so I think it will be a long day of negotiations" Friday, Irish Prime Minister Bertie Ahern said late Thursday. "I think people will give their best shot tomorrow."

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