Before the meeting Staffan Nilsson, president of the European Economic and Social Committee, renewed his call to the Member States to decide on a robust EU budget, underpinned by an own-resource mechanism. “The EU budget must support a strong and sustainable common agricultural policy and a single cohesion policy, and must foster innovation and research which are drivers for bringing the EU back to sustainable growth and job creation.

“The reality is that we are not yet at the point of reaching consensus and we need another round before concluding”, explained José Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission after intense discussion.

The leaders of the 27 Member States of the EU have issued a joint statement, after the conclusion of the European Council Meeting in which they expressed their belief that an agreement on the Multiannual Financial Framework for 2014-2020 can be reached in the first months of 2013.

Read the full statement by the 27 Member States on the MFF as follows:
“The European Council gives its President the mandate together with the President of the European Commission to continue the work and pursue consultations in the coming weeks to find a consensus among the 27 over the Union's Multiannual Financial Framework for the period 2014-2020.
The bilateral talks and the constructive discussion within the European Council show a sufficient degree of potential convergence to make an agreement possible in the beginning of next year. We should be able to bridge existing divergences of views. A European budget is important for the cohesion of the Union and for jobs and growth in all our countries”.

Picture: Francois HOLLANDE, President of France © European Commission