Last week's special Council meeting on the next EU budget 2021-2027 ended without an agreement. When EU leaders left Brussels on Friday after close to 30 hours of negotiations, there was no timeline set for further talks. In our view, it would have been a surprise if the meeting had led to a big breakthrough, given the traditionally contested nature of negotiations between net contributors and recipients of the seven-year budget. This time, the situation is much more complicated, as Brexit leaves a sizeable gap of around EUR 60-75bn in the ~EUR 1tr budget. Still, despite the meticulous preparations of Council President Charles Michel, including a marathon of bilateral meetings with EU leaders ahead of the summit and a new compromise budget proposal, not even a preliminary agreement regarding the approximate size of the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) could be reached.