by Xinhua writer Chong Dahai, Miao Xiaojuan
BRUSSELS, Feb. 9 (Xinhua) -- EU leaders finally reached a compromise deal on the bloc's 2014-2020 budget on Friday after nearly 25 hours of intense negotiations, averting another failure that might further shake trust in the crisis-battered continent.
"It's perhaps nobody's perfect budget, but there's a lot in it for everybody," EU President Herman Van Rompuy commented, adding that "It is a balanced and growth-oriented budget for Europe for the rest of the decade."
On one hand, the leaner spending commitments of 960 billion euros (1.28 trillion U.S. dollars), the first ever cutback in the bloc's budget, met the demands of EU budget's net contributors like Britain, Germany and the Netherlands that wanted belt-tightening.
On the other hand, the deal maintained spending on farm subsidies and the Cohesion Funds to satisfy such net recipients as France, Italy and some East European nations. The Cohesion Funds is designed to help poorer states catch up with their peers in the EU.
Its obvious weakness lies in the fact that the deal only put aside 6 billion euros (some 8.02 billion dollars) to help alleviate youth unemployment over the next seven years, thin gruel for some EU members like Greece and Spain where jobless rate has skyrocketed over the past few years amid persistent crisis.
It was indeed like a "mission impossible" to strike a multi-year financial deal among the 28 protagonists of Europe -- the 27 EU members plus EU institutions -- as everybody has their sacred cows, reluctant to compromise on issues relating to their core interests.
But this time, the EU leaders, who have failed once to deliver a deal, demonstrated "collective responsibilities" by reaching the budget agreement, key to addressing EU's pressing concerns.
In a broader context, budget negotiations are only one of many tough missions to be fulfilled in EU's integration process. The striking of a common budget deal indicates that member countries are poised to unite and capable of finding ways if necessary, to keep the bloc's integration process on track.