With a budget deficit and the UK soon to be out, all eyes were on how the EU spent its annual 145 billion budget.

EU leaders agreed on Friday (23 February) to spend more on defence, security and “stemming illegal migration” inĀ the next long-term budget, European Council chief Donald Tusk said.

After leaders held their preliminary discussion of the first post-Brexit budget, Tusk told reporters that many European heads of government were ready to contribute more money to the next budget cycle, that runs 2021-27.

“All the leaders approached [the budget] with open minds, rather than red lines,” he stated.

Tusk however said that the EU Commission’s ambitious deadline for reaching an agreement by the end of this year seemed “really difficult”.

The EU executive wants to conclude talks by the next European elections in May 2019, however, haggling over the budget usually takes more than two years.

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