Leaders fail to make EU CAP budget deal
Stalemate piles pressure on Irish presidency starting in five weeks
The EU's CAP 2014-2020 budget remains in limbo this week as Government leaders failed yet again to reach a deal in Brussels.
Despite proposals to slash €17bn off the CAP budget over seven years, the EU's biggest net contributor states, Britain and Germany, were still not satisfied that the spending cuts went far enough.
It remains to be seen if the process can be put back on track during tomorrow's meeting of farm ministers in Brussels, but it now looks highly unlikely that another high-level meeting to hammer out a budget will take place before January.
The stalemate has heaped pressure on the six-month Irish presidency which starts in five weeks.
Observers insist that it will still be possible for Europe's leaders to strike deals on both the budget and CAP reform before the end of the Irish presidency in June, but the practicalities of implementing all the systems required by the reforms by 2014 is beginning to look doubtful.
Direct payments were saved from the worst of the cuts in the last proposal that was tabled by the EU Council President, Herman van Rompuy.