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.
Golden Eagle Coins
6 Dollar T-Shirts
The Ready Store
Audible Audio Books