Senior EU officials are warning that it is proving harder than ever to reach an agreement on the European Union’s next multi-annual budget.
Ministers are meeting on Monday for further talks and EU leaders will hold a special summit in November to try to strike a budget deal.
The European Commission has proposed an overall budget of 1,033 billion euros ($1,337 billion) for 2014-2020.
Every six years or so, the EU has a big political fight about the size and structure of its next multi-annual budget.
At a time of economic crisis, that looming row is once again upon us.
The Commission points out that the budget it has proposed represents only about 1% of Europe’s income, and many countries are supportive.
They want to protect spending programmes from which they benefit, such as the Common Agricultural Policy or Regional Funding for poorer areas of the European Union.
But a number of influential countries argue that increased spending is not tenable and they want a real freeze in the size of the budget.