Evolution, not revolution in new EU budget: commissioner

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The European Union will not see a radical shake up of its budget, the 27-nation bloc's financial chief said Friday, as it braces for talks on its 2014-2020 spending plans.

Janusz Lewandowski, who holds the budget portfolio in the EU's executive European Commission, told reporters during a visit to Lithuania that "evolution, not revolution" was on the cards.

Negotiations, likely to be difficult, on the EU's next budget cycle are set to start this year.

Lewandowski, whose home nation Poland joined the EU in 2004 along with Lithuania and eight other ex-communist states, insisted that the bloc would still need to rethink farm spending under its Common Agricultural Policy.

"Some re-orientation of CAP is a must. The common agriculture policy could be seen also as a source of biomass (fuels) and not only of food," he said.

Lewandowski said he expected the budget talks to be tough because countries were likely to focus heavily on national interests, with West European governments looking inward.

"Europe is full of fears, of eurosceptics and the optimism is now coming from the East," he said.

© 2010 AFP

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