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EU rebate deadlock continues

A deal on Europe's future spending was no nearer today as deadlock continued over Britain's EU budget rebate.
Fresh talks chaired by Foreign Secretary Jack Straw floundered when ministers made clear they were still waiting for new proposals from the British presidency of the EU.

But Mr Straw warned there was no question of proposing scrapping the rebate, as most wish.

And he made clear there was no chance of getting even a reduced rebate deal through the British Parliament unless there are farm subsidy concessions from France and other member states benefiting hugely from the Common Agricultural Policy.

Mr Straw confirmed there would be new compromise proposals tabled, but not until early December - just days before Tony Blair hosts a crunch summit hoping to agree the next 2007-2013 budget package.

With nothing new on offer, today's mood was summed up by the Finnish foreign minister who said: 'As there is nothing new to discuss, I have got nothing new to say.'

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