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EU Budget Impasse Prompts Recriminations by European Leaders


European leaders are engaging in recriminations following the failure to reach a budget agreement during this week's EU summit in Brussels.

In Berlin, German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder Saturday said the budget deal collapsed due to what he called the "inflexible stance" of the British and Dutch.

Polish Prime Minister Marek Belka said the proposal from the mostly east European new members to sacrifice some much-needed aid to avoid a budget deadlock was a last ditch effort to revive the stalled talks. He said it was a reaction to the "perceived selfishness of some members."

Prime Minister Tony Blair denied being isolated by his colleagues, telling reporters Britain was not alone in opposing the proposed budget.

Italian Foreign Minister Gianfranco Fini cautioned that the stalemate reflects the growing unwillingness of many governments to sacrifice their national interests in the name of European integration. He said it was not selfishness, but rather a crisis of trust.

Some information for this report provided by AFP and AP.

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