European Union President Herman van Rompuy opened a summit of EU leaders Thursday night after a five-hour delay, appealing for them to show responsibility and find a compromise on the long-term EU budget.
"Today we must reach an agreement on our Union's budget for the rest of the decade. We're picking up from where we left matters last November," he said in his opening statements.
The 27 EU member states are deeply divided over the seven year 2014-2020 budget with some countries like Germany and the UK favouring deep spending cuts while other poorer member states opposed to it.
"I am confident that around this table we can now settle on a final compromise. We simply have to," pleaded Van Rompuy.
"We need a budget of moderation, taking into account difficult economic realities across Europe and providing value for money," he said without mentioning any figures for the long-term budget.
"Dear colleagues, I strongly believe that if we all show a sense of responsibility, then exactly such a budget for the European Union is within our reach. But we are not there yet," he added.