News Summary: EU leaders agree to 7-year budget

News Summary: EU leaders agree to $1.28 trillion 7-year budget, still needs parliament OK

Associated Press

HISTORICAL PRECEDENT: European Union leaders agreed Friday to a 7-year budget worth €959 billion ($1.28 trillion) — the first cut in spending in the 27-country group's history.

LEAN AND MEAN: The EU Parliament must still approve the deal, and some lawmakers there expressed disapproval. The proposed budget has been criticized for cutting too deeply into aid for poor countries or other areas critical for Europe.

GIVE AND TAKE: The hard-fought two-day summit in Brussels was a tussle about what the 27-nation European Union stands for: some leaders argued that it was a drag on national budgets in tough economic times, while others said the economic crisis highlighted the need for closer and deeper ties.

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