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EU ends testy budget summit without deal

By Associated Press Staff

BRUSSELS — European Union leaders broke up a marathon budget summit without a deal Friday and their positions were still so far apart that they could not even decide when to meet again on the divisive issue.

After 28 hours of talks the leaders could not find a compromise, with a half dozen wealthy member states insisting they would not stump up more funds for the bloc’s next long-term spending package, worth around one trillion euros ($1.1 trillion).

“The differences were simply too big,” said German Chancellor Angela Merkel. “There is still a lot of work ahead of us.”

What’s at stake is whether leaders are ready to put their money where their mouths are when it comes to European policy ambitions. At the same time, amid poor economic growth, they cannot afford to give the impression to their home audiences that they are splashing out taxpayers’ cash.

“As my grandmother said, to succeed you have to try,” EU Council President Charles Michel said. It was not clear yet exactly when a new summit would be set.

“The work is going to have to continue in coming weeks and months,” said French President Emmanuel Macron. “There have been some improvements but they’re not good enough.”

Beyond the problems of reconciling rich and poorer member states, the departure of Britain at the beginning of the month, which was a high contributor to the EU coffers, also made things tougher.

“It’s a very difficult negotiation, especially after Brexit and the gap (of) between 60 and 75 billion euros,” said Michel.

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