Our take: The European Union has been working to find budget solutions that all members can agree on. Bruce Crumley from TIME Magazine writes about why the decision is taking so long.
"It's difficult to designate an obvious villain in the European Union's stalled budget negotiations. Virtually all 27 member states are advancing mostly national interests in what's supposed to be the world's largest team effort. That is why few observers expect E.U. leaders converging on Brussels Thursday for another round of budget summitry to come away with a mutually acceptable compromise. Indeed, no agreement may be the best agreement for all concerned.
"The Feb. 7 and 8 summit seeks to establish the E.U.'s budget for the 2014–2020 period — a quest that went nowhere when leaders last huddled to talk finances in November. On the face of it, the cause of the impasse is fairly simple. Fiscally conservative countries like the U.K., Germany, the Netherlands and Denmark want to see Europe's budget cut in the same way that spending by national governments has been slashed to remedy debt-plagued public accounts. Countries like France, Poland, Italy and Spain, by contrast, generally seek to maintain or inch up current E.U. funding levels and redirect money saved through austerity to other economic and social programs capable of stimulating slumping growth. If that seems like déjà vu all over again, it is: those are largely the same fault lines that split northern and southern E.U. members over how to respond to Europe's financial crisis."
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