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EU Finance Ministers Struggle Over Limits on Deficit Spending

European Union finance ministers are meeting Sunday to try to resolve a dispute over budget deficit limits on member states

Luxembourg, which holds the EU presidency, called the Sunday meeting to see if a deal can be reached on a compromise before Tuesday's summit of EU leaders.

The proposal would make it easier for EU member states to avoid punishment for running excessive budget deficits - greater than three percent of GDP. It would also extend a grace period for governments to get spending under control.

Germany and France want to ease current rules, which are meant to protect the stability of the Euro. Several countries, including Austria and the Netherlands, have resisted a weakening of rules.

The system has been in disarray since 2003, when Germany and France escaped punishment, despite repeatedly spending above the set limit.

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