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European Commission Says EU Budget Agreement Still Possible

The European Commission says it is still possible to reach a budget deal at next week's European Union summit, even though member states have heavily criticized a British proposal.

Commission spokesman Johannes Laitenberger says more work is needed to reach agreement on the budget issue. He says Britain may have to accept a smaller increase in its annual rebate to win approval of the budget.

The British government, which holds the rotating EU presidency, submitted a proposal Monday that cuts $28 billion from the six-year EU budget, beginning in 2007. Most of the cuts would come from aid to the bloc's new and poorer member states. Britain also offered to give back $9 billion of its annual EU rebate to assist those countries.

But several European officials say the plan mainly looks after Britain's own interests and needs serious revisions.

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