EU Countries Agree on Financial Framework

European Union countries have struggled to find common ground as they tried to work out a budget agreement in Belgium. But this month, they agreed on the European Union's multiannual financial framework, or MMF, for the period from 2014 to 2020. The MMF sets the EU's yearly spending at about $1.3 trillion. That is one percent of the income of the EU.

Members agreed to reduce total spending by more than three percent for the period. This is the first time that members have accepted cutting costs. European Council President Herman Van Rompuy spoke after the agreement was announced. He said [the compromise budget might not be perfect]. But, he said, it should help all EU membersGerman Chancellor Angela Merkel praised the long-term spending plan. She said [the agreement makes policy more predictable and enables members to act in Europe's interest].

Some EU leaders have been calling for greater spending controls in their home countries. They wanted the EU to show that it too is willing to cut costs.British Prime Minister David Cameron welcomed the agreement. Before the two-day meeting in Brussels, he had threatened to veto the budget, if there were no steps toward reducing spending. But the agreement still might not succeed. The European parliament must approve the measure. And some members of the parliament say [it fails to deal with many problems like the sharp differences in wealth between rich and poor people]. If the measure is approved, it will affect 28 European Union countries. The EU says [Croatia is expected to join the group in July].


European Union countries have struggled to find common ground as they tried to work out a budgetagreement in Belgium.

Have European Union countries struggled to find common ground as they tried to work out a budgetagreement in Belgium?

This is the first timethat members have accepted cutting costs.

Is this the first timethat members have accepted cutting costs?

The EU says Croatia is expected to join the group in July.

The EU does say Croatia is expected to join the group in July.

Does the  EU say Croatia is expected to join the group in July?

budget(n):  [countable] the money that is available to an organization or person, or a plan of how it will be spent
(a summary of intended expenditures along with proposals for how to meet them)

praise(v): [transitive] to say that you admire and approve of someone or something, especially publicly
(express approval of)

policy(n): [uncountable and countable] a way of doing something that has been officially agreed and chosen by a political party, business, or other organization
(a plan of action adopted by an individual or social group)

 veto(v): [transitive] if someone in authority vetoes something, they refuse to allow it to happen, especially something that other people or organizations have agreed
(vote against)

measure(n): [countable] an action, especially an official one, that is intended to deal with a particular problem
(any maneuver made as part of progress toward a goal)