Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Summit in Chaos as Blair Halts Deal

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Summit in Chaos as Blair Halts Deal

Article excerpt

Byline: By Gavin Cordon and Geoff Meade

Europe's political troubles deepened dramatically last night when Tony Blair blocked a budget deal at a summit which has already sounded the death knell for the constitutional treaty.

The summit collapsed in disarray in Brussels after 14 hours of tortuous talks when Mr Blair carried out his threat to veto EU spending plans which cut Britain's pounds 3bn a year rebate.

The row centred on one of the most bitter Anglo-French clashes in EU history.

But Mr Blair was not alone. Four other countries ( Spain, Holland, Sweden, and Finland ( signalled they could not support the deal.

And it worsened the sense of crisis triggered by the plight of the constitutional treaty, leaving EU leaders divided and bitter just when they were supposed to display solidarity and unity over Europe's future.

Yesterday the summit effectively killed off a treaty which, until the people of France and Holland voted it down, had been designed as the EU's streamlined new "bible", to ensure the smooth running of an enlarged Europe of 25 and more countries. …

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