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European Union leaders will hold a special summit on Feb. 20, with an aim of reaching a breakthrough in stalled negotiations over the bloc’s trillion-euro ($1.1 trillion) budget that are being made extra onerous by the U.K.’s withdrawal from the EU.

“Any postponement would create serious practical and political problems,” European Council President Charles Michel said in his invitation letter published on Saturday. “I am fully aware that these negotiations are among the most difficult ones we have to face.”

The seven-year budget is a cornerstone of EU policy that lets farmers compete against imports from the developing world, helps poorer states catch up with the richer ones and underpins projects that bind the union together. But agreeing on the amount of cash and how to spend it is a regular source of tension between the net contributors and those who get more than they put in. The U.K. was a net contributor and its departure leaves a budget hole that needs to be plugged by either cutting spending or making others cough up more.

To contact the reporters on this story: John Martens in Brussels at jmartens1@bloomberg.net;Nikos Chrysoloras in Brussels at nchrysoloras@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Katerina Petroff at kpetroff@bloomberg.net, ;Chad Thomas at cthomas16@bloomberg.net, Sara Marley, Andrew Davis

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