France keen for deal during British EU presidency

13th July 2005, Comments 0 comments

BRUSSELS, July 12 (AFP) - French Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin said on Tuesday that his country was keen to reach agreement on the divisive long-term European Union budget during the EU's British presidency.

BRUSSELS, July 12 (AFP) - French Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin said on Tuesday that his country was keen to reach agreement on the divisive long-term European Union budget during the EU's British presidency.

"We want to quickly reach an agreement among the 25 (member states) during the British presidency," which runs until the end of December, Villepin told reporters in Brussels.

"We think that an accord could be possible if everyone wants to move ahead quickly and I think that the European people are expecting a strong signal," he said after talks with European Commission chief Jose Manuel Barroso.

The EU summit last month broke down in acrimony with notably Britain and France in disagreement over the 2007-2013 budget, the first since the Union expanded to 25 members in May last year.

Britain refused to give up its rebate -- a return payment because it gets so little in subsidies -- while France refused to renegotiate the budget-consuming system of farm subsidies, known as the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP).

Villepin said "there are elements on the table to be negotiated", noting particularly the propositions made by the Luxembourg EU presidency, which Britain and three other countries refused to accept last month.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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