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European Union Budget Ministers and MEPs meeting in Brussels on July 20 had managed to thrash out a consensus on farm spending - by agreeing to scrap the Euro 1 billion reserve proposed to help bail out farmers hit by the animal health crises - and on fisheries, but they failed to settle their differences on external expenditure linked to the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP). The mixed agreement came at the end of a conciliation meeting between delegations from the European Parliament and the Council of Budget Ministers on the compulsory expenditure part of the Preliminary Draft EU Budget for 2002, which was tabled by the European Commission last May. After meeting MEPs, the Ministers simply confirmed the figures that had been decided by the Committee of Member States' Permanent Representatives (COREPER): the rules on budgetary procedure stipulate that, in the event of an inter-institutional split at this stage, the figures in the Preliminary Draft Budget are chosen and this is what has been done for CFSP expenditure.Following the session, Budget Commissioner Michaele Schreyer noted the Council's rejection of the agricultural reserve to cover the costs of meat crises. But she indicated that funds will be included afresh through an amending budget in the autumn - this will also include funds for...

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