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German Finance Minister Casts Doubt Over New EU Budget


Germany's finance minister says he doubts the European Union will agree on the 25-member bloc's budget plan at next week's summit.

Peer Steinbruck says a proposal by Britain has little chance of being accepted "in its current form."

The British government - which holds the rotating EU presidency - submitted a proposal Monday that cuts $28 billion from the EU's six-year budget, which goes into effect in 2007. Most of the cuts would come from aid given to the EU's new and poorer member states.

Britain is offering to give back $9 billion of its annual EU budget rebate to help pay for EU enlargement.

Spanish economic official Pedro Solbes suggests London mainly looked after its own interests. Several other member nations, including France, Hungary and Poland, have also criticized Britain's offer.

Some information for this report provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.

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