Britain is demanding a freeze to EU spending for the period 2014-20, the details of which are supposed to be thrashed out at a two-day summit of EU leaders in Brussels beginning on Thursday.
But EU officials and diplomats are concerned Britain’s position will render a 27-nation agreement impossible.
“Because of the British stance people are looking, both in national capitals and in Brussels, for a solution at 26,” an official told the Financial Times. “It’s being looked at from a financial and legal point of view.”
An agreement excluding Britain would raise serious legal questions and could push Britain closer to leaving the union altogether.