European negotiations are always a treat to follow particularly when it has to do with the decision on the recurring seven year budget deal. This case is no exception ... as reported by The Economist's global agenda the negotiations mirror an environment of anxiety where the possibility of not striking a deal really was not a plausible outcome.
"After the popular rejection of the proposed EU constitution in France and the Netherlands, the acrimonious break-up of budget talks in June, and multiple setbacks to economic reform (symbolised by the German election result), most European leaders were anxious for any budget settlement."
But what can we really take away from this deal then ... ?
On a personal note I am dissapointed yet not particular surprised that the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) largely is left untouched. I feel confident that the time of the CAP is drawing to an end but I could have wished a more firm stance. But in an intergovernmental arena tangled up in discriminatory rebates (sorry mates) and the devotion to cohesion policy I wonder whether we should not be happy that a deal was finally made.
What is also interesting from an intergovernmental point of view is that the old Franco-German axis seems to be broken with the ascession of Angela Merkel which actually ended up stealing a lot of Mr. Blair's thunder in cutting the final deal.
See also this artice from FT which provides an overview.
As always there are also some nice discussions over at the Fistful of Euros.
See these posts;