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French ambassador: EU 'not about fiscal returns'

European Union leaders are due to begin a two-day summit in Brussels to try to strike a deal on the next seven years of EU spending.

High EU expenditure at a time of cutbacks and austerity across the continent is the main issue dividing the 27 member states.

They failed to reach a compromise at a similar summit last November.

Bernard Emie, France's ambassador to the UK, told Today presenter Evan Davis that, "we want to find a compromise."

He said that France's position is "yes to making savings, but no to weakening the economy of European countries."

"We want to the European budget to be fit to support out efforts towards growth and finding jobs for our children in Europe," he added.

When asked about the prospect of the UK referendum on the EU, he explained that "we have to keep in mind that Europe is about solidarity... and not only about return of investment."

First broadcast on BBC Radio 4's Today Programme on Thursday 7 February 2013.

  • 07 Feb 2013