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EU parliament backs 7-year budget

July 3, 2013

STRASBOURG, France (AP) — The European Union’s parliament has backed the €960 billion ($1.3 trillion) seven-year budget for the 28-country bloc.

Wednesday’s vote showed a 474-193 approval for the budget with 42 abstentions, indicating there should also be a big majority for a final vote on the spending plan in the autumn. A summit of EU leaders had already backed the budget last week.

The blueprint for the 2014-2020 budget includes the bloc’s first-ever spending cuts, as many of its countries are in recession and struggling to reduce their national debt.

Separate from national finances, the EU budget funds everything from joint infrastructure projects and farming subsidies to development aid, research and employment measures.