BERLIN (AP) — German Chancellor Angela Merkel says she is optimistic that negotiations on the European Union's seven-year budget next week will be successful.
Merkel told reporters ahead of talks with Italian Premier Mario Monti on Thursday that negotiations leading up to the European budget summit next week "won't be easy, of course." Italy wants to reduce its share of payments to the medium-term budget and emphasize funding for job creation and social programs.
Monti said his country's current status as one of the biggest net contributors was "unjustified." A previous summit of the EU's 27 national leaders failed to reach agreement in November. Britain has since reinforced its position that there need to be cuts to the proposed €1 trillion ($1.35 trillion) 2014-2020 budget.