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EU Deal on Budget in Reach, French Aide Says

Feb. 8 (Bloomberg) -- European Union leaders have mainly agreed on a 960 billion-euro ($1.3 trillion) seven-year budget, with some smaller countries still holding out for sweeteners, a French official said.

A summit in Brussels that went through the night was set to resume at 1 p.m. and should be wrapped up this afternoon, said the official, who spoke to reporters on the condition he wasn’t identified.

The French government considers the compromise balanced and in line with French interests because the spending cuts aren’t as deep as those initially proposed by Britain, the Netherlands, and Germany, the official said.

Under the agreement, France’s contribution toward the rebate received by Britain and other northern European countries, will remain about 1.6 billion euros a year, he said. It would have risen to 2.4 billion euros at the end of the period without an accord. Italy, the next biggest contributor to the rebates, will also see its payments held stable.

France’s net contribution to the EU budget will decline to 0.31 percent of economic output from 0.32 percent.

To contact the reporter on this story: Gregory Viscusi in Brussels at gviscusi@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: James Hertling at jhertling@bloomberg.net

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