Grybauskaitė: EU leaders were quiet and calculating at summit

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EU leaders displayed quiet resolve to agree a budget deal, with no talk of a veto, but now they must convince the European Parliament to approve the seven-year plan despite real cuts, Lithuania’s President Dalia Grybauskaitė told EurActiv at the margins of the summit.

Dalia Grybauskaitė is Lithuania's head of state and former European Commissioner. She spoke to EurActiv’s Georgi Gotev.

What does this summit augur for your EU presidency, which starts on 1 July?

This is a release for me because an agreement is agreed today and of course will be taken by the Irish presidency to negotiate with the Parliament now. Negotiations will be of course difficult because the budget is in real terms cut significantly in the first time in the history of the European budget. And of course the European Parliament is not happy at this stage but all such negotiations are usually difficult.

We decided today to be [forthcoming] to the Parliament’s concerns. We will propose a review during the financial framework of seven years, somewhere in the middle. Also we are proposing the maximum flexibility possible for moving financial resources between lines and years. This has never before been agreed between member states and the Parliament.

I am happy that this will be left behind in this presidency and for the Lithuanian presidency we will only have to negotiate the programmes with the Parliament to use financial resources already from 2014 to 2015.

There will be about 80 legal texts to accompany the budget. Part of the work will fall on the Lithuanian presidency...

Yes, mainly us, and that’s in addition to the normal amount of documents we will need to adapt plus the 2013 annual budget to negotiate. So there’s practically double the amount of work.

How was the atmosphere in the summit, which took some 25 hours?

Surprisingly I would say that the atmosphere was quiet because everyone understood the necessity to agree. Everybody knew that it is difficult to agree. Everyone knew that the economic situation in Europe still is difficult. And everybody knew that compromise was necessary.

So of course it took time because it takes a lot of calculations, each move, each proposal needs a lot of recalculations of all mechanisms and because everything depends on each other in all lines of the budget.

But finally we got what we got and some mistakes in November we tried to avoid this time. And we tried not to leave the room, not to leave the building before we agreed.

And nobody mentioned a veto?

It was more on the agenda in November but not today and not yesterday.

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