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Hollande: Europe must compromise on budget

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18:04 CET+01:00
French President François Hollande arrived Thursday in Brussels for tough talks on the European Union's next budget saying he sought compromise, not an ultimatum.

"I have come to seek a compromise not to set an ultimatum," said Hollande, adding that "Europe is a compromise" and that no country "can come seeking what it spent, otherwise there is no more Europe."

Earlier, German Chancellor Angela Merkel too called for compromise while admitting a deal between the 27 different nations might be hard to reach.

"Each one of us will doubtless have to show a spirit of compromise," she said, adding that it was however "possible we will need a new stage" before clinching a deal.

"We all know each other well, but I repeat that perhaps we will need a second stage" of talks.

A number of countries led by Britain are seeking huge cuts in the trillion-euro EU budget for 2014-2020 to match austerity programmes at home, and Hollande's government has rejected proposals to cut spending on the Common Agricultural Policy, the largest item on the budget.

Though France is a leading recipient of farming subisides, Hollande denied he was purely defending national interests.

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"Europe needs to master its budget because these are times when every euro counts," Hollande told reporters.

But the next long-term EU budget needed "to privilege growth," he said.

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