According to the latest figures circulated at the summit, the overall total level of the budget has been capped at €960 billion, down from the €972 billion, or 1.01% of EU’s gross national income (GNI).
Meanwhile, the actual payments level has dropped from €935 billion to €908.4 billion, based on actual estimated expenditure within the current budget adjusted for inflation.
That figure would enable the budget hawks, such as British Prime Minister David Cameron, to claim a decrease in the budget on the basis of the payments projections.
Diplomats hailed the agreement, struck after a meeting between the leaders of Britain, France and Germany, as a breakthrough.
Belgian Prime Minister Elio Di Rupo told journalists around 4 a.m. that the negotiations would continue into Friday morning.
French sources suggested a possible deal was being sketched out, based the €960 billion headline figure. Negotiations could drag on throughout the day on how to distribute the sums between the three main headings – agriculture, cohesion and competitiveness.
A few figures have emerged from diplomats present at the summit. They indicate:
- The majority of the cuts come from the Connecting Europe Facility (sub-heading 1a “Competitiveness for growth and jobs”)
- An extra €1 billion was slashed from the administrative budget (less expected)
- The British and German rebates were untouched; the Danes won a rebate of €134 million, but these were still subject to negotiation, with the Netherlands and Sweden unlikely to be content with the €650 and €160 million rebates on offer to them; Austria's rebate was to be halved.
- The Common Agricultural Policy funding would rise slightly under the deal.
But even if there is a deal, it would still need clearance from the European Parliament.
Martin Schulz, the assembly's president, warned leaders that the budget proposal was the most backward-looking in the EU's history and would not be accepted by the Parliament at the proposed levels.
"President Van Rompuy set out a compromise which would involve spending of €960 billion – we are talking about commitment appropriations here – whereas payment appropriations would just run to about €910-913 billion," he told a news conference, saying he didn't like the proposal.