EU leaders in Brussels (Photo: Riccardo Pareggiani/Pool via REUTERS) EU leaders in Brussels (Photo: Riccardo Pareggiani/Pool via REUTERS)

The extraordinary summit of EU leaders focusing on the bloc's Multiannual Financial Framework opened in Brussels on Thursday. The goal of the meeting was to bridge the gaps between the various positions each member state has regarding the EU's long term budget, which covers the 2021 to 2027 period.

Representing Croatia is Prime Minister Andrej Plenković, who predicted on Thursday that it is difficult to foresee when an agreement will be reached given the massive differences between member states when it comes to the focus of the EU's long term budget.

The extraordinary summit began Thursday afternoon, and after the first plenary session, it continued until deep into the night with bilateral meetings between the President of the European Council Charles Michel and all EU leaders. A new plenary meeting was first announced at 10, then 11, and then at 12 o'clock, only to be postponed indefinitely until further notice.

This means that so far Michel has failed to find common ground in the different points of view of various member states, that he has nothing new to suggest and that it makes no sense for EU leaders to reconvene at the plenary session.

In the meantime, the leaders of the Friends of Cohesion countries have met to try to agree on a common approach. For the most part poorer member states, they are calling for richer member states to contribute more to the budget.

A meeting of the so-called "Frugal Four" was also held. Austria, Denmark, The Netherlands and Sweden, are insisting that the next seven-year budget be limited to one percent of gross national income per member state. With the recent departure of the United Kingdom this would mean that the EU budget would be 75 billion Euros less than the current seven-year period.

The foundation for the negotiations were laid out by Michel, who last week proposed an EU budget for the 2021 to 2027 period of just under 1.095 trillion Euros, which is 1.074 percent of the 27 member state's Gross Domestic Income.

Source: HRT