EU Ministers Discuss Budget for 2014-2020

Posted July 28th, 2011 at 5:30 pm (UTC-5)
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European Union ministers have gathered in the Polish resort town of Sopot on the Baltic coast to discuss the bloc's budget for the next seven-year period starting in 2014.

The two-day meeting called by Poland, which currently holds the EU's six-month rotating presidency, began Thursday. The informal talks among the bloc's European affairs ministers are aimed at paving the way for a budget summit in October in Brussels.

Participants are discussing the European Commission's controversial draft budget unveiled June 29.

European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso has proposed to increase the EU budget by about five percent from the current $1,400 billion. Some European austerity-driven governments, notably Britain and Germany, have rejected the increase. They have called for a budget freeze at current levels, rising only in line with inflation.

Block members also disagree on the way taxes should be levied.

The French news agency quoted Poland's secretary of state for European affairs and economic policy, Mikolaj Dowgielewicz, as saying he expected heated but constructive discussions.