European parliament threatens to scuttle EU 2013 budget
BRUSSELS (AFP) - The European parliament on Tuesday refused to join talks later in the day between European Union budget ministers on the bloc's 2013 budget, a threat which could scuttle any deal.
In a statement issued three hours before discussions were to start, parliament said it could not join the negotiations because there was no agreement to deal with a shortfall this year depriving Europe's needy of key funds.
"Given the Council's inability to solve problems left over from 2012 ... the European parliament cannot pursue budgetary negotiations on the budget for 2013," said a statement from conservative French MEP Alain Lamassoure, who heads the assembly's budget committee.
A spokesman for Cyprus, which currently holds the rotating EU presidency, said that "for us the meeting is not lost.