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EU President 'delays budget offer due to divisions'

European Council President Herman Van Rompuy has chosen not to present a new budget compromise to EU leaders at a summit after sharp splits emerged between key nations, EU diplomats have told Reuters.

"There will be no new proposals [from Van Rompuy]," one source said on condition of anonymity. The impasse could mean that no new proposal is presented at all on the first night of the two-day summit, a second source said.

Van Rompuy had been expected to present a revised budget plan to leaders this afternoon, but that was delayed by more than five hours as meetings among EU leaders showed deep differences in their positions.

Top EU official warns against British repatriation of powers

Prime Minister David Cameron with European Council president Herman Van Rompuy in Downing Street Credit: Andy Rain/PA Wire

The president of the European Council Herman Van Rompuy has warned that David Cameron's strategy of repatriating powers from the EU would damage the union and the eurozone.

In an interview with the Guardian, he said: "If every member state were able to cherry-pick those parts of existing policies that they most like, and opt out of those that they least like, the union in general, and the single market in particular, would soon unravel."

He said that Britain has gained "tremendously" from being part of the single market and said he did not want to see "a friend walk off into the desert".

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Cameron meets EU presidents ahead of budget talks

The Prime Minister has held a meeting with the European Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso and European Council president Herman Van Rompuy.

Other EU leaders will be ushered in throughout the day to see the two presidents as part of an unusual pre-summit effort to avoid deadlock when the summit gets under way tonight.

No 10: 'We will protect our EU rebate'

by - Former Political Correspondent
EU budget: David Cameron greeting the President of the European Council, Herman Van Rompuy, outside Downing Street last year
David Cameron greeting the President of the European Council, Herman Van Rompuy, outside Downing Street last year Credit: PA

The Prime Minister spoke to the European Council president Herman Van Rompuy and his Irish and Czech counterparts on the phone last night to try to work towards a deal on the EU budget.

A Number 10 spokesman said Mr Van Rompuy updated David Cameron on his discussions with other leaders.

The PM set out his view that EU spending cannot be discussed without reference to cuts back here in Britain.

Downing Street says he believes that Mr Van Rompuy is taking a step in the right direction, but believes further cuts can be made.

On the issue of the UK rebate, Number 10 confirmed it was in the proposals set out by the European Commission and revised by Van Rompuy, but he reiterated that it was not up for negotiation, adding: "We will protect our rebate. We think it's fully justified."

Van Rompuy: Reform needed for Greek economy

We do not question Greece's sense of responsibility and are hopeful that the next Greek Government will act in accordance with the country's engagement and its European future.

Continued reform is the best guarantee for the Greek economy and for the future of the Greek people in the euro area.

– Herman Van Rompuy, President of the European Council

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