The European Union looks set for fresh trouble this week as an extraordinary summit called to agree a long-term trillion-euro budget heads for an ugly showdown, possibly even failure.
Already weakened by three years of economic crisis, the 27-nation bloc of half a billion people faces new trauma at the two-day summit starting Thursday after weeks of talks that have exposed stark divisions between pro- and anti-austerity nations, as well as between the haves and have-nots.
"It's a lose-lose summit," said a senior EU diplomat. "Absolutely no one will leave this summit content if by chance we reach a solution."
"We don't exclude a breakdown," another diplomat told AFP on condition of anonymity.
Europe's leaders begin the talks on the EU's next seven-year budget at 1900 GMT Thursday, with Britain's premier David Cameron in the role of leading spoiler though most governments are putting national interest well above shared concerns.
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