BRUSSELS – European Union leaders will discuss creating a separate budget for the 17 euro zone countries at a summit on Thursday, but the talks are unrelated to the EU's long-term budget negotiations, draft conclusions for the summit said on Monday.
British Prime Minister David Cameron said last week it was inevitable that the EU would end up with two budgets, one for the euro zone and another for the wider EU, and indicated that he expected Britain's contributions to the EU budget to fall once a separate euro zone budget was in place.
But in draft conclusions agreed ahead of the October 18-19 gathering of EU leaders, policymakers have underlined that the discussions are discrete and should not be mixed -- a firm signal to Cameron and others not to try to combine them.
"For the euro area, the objective is to move towards an integrated budgetary framework," says the draft of the conclusions obtained by Reuters.
"Their exploration will be separate from and unrelated to current negotiations on the next Multiannual Financial Framework."
The EU's 27 countries are currently in the process of negotiating their next 7-year budget, to run from 2014-2020, known as the multiannual financial framework.
(Writing by Luke Baker)