A European Union summit charged with agreeing on a long-term budget for the 27-nation bloc has broken up without a deal. European Council President Herman Van Rompuy, who presides over the summits, said that the national leaders had told him and European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso to continue working toward consensus over the coming weeks. Van Rompuy said the "constructive discussions" at the summit meant that an agreement could be reached early next year.
Barroso, too, called the talks constructive. But he added, "we are not yet at the point of reaching consensus." There is no set deadline for a deal, but the closer it gets to 2014, the tougher it will be for a smooth introduction of new programs. If there is no deal up to 2014, there would be a rollover of the 2013 budget plus a 2% increase accounting for inflation.