The European Union's parliament has backed the €960bn seven-year budget for the 28-country bloc.

The 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.

Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore was the lead negotiator for EU governments on the package in negotiations with the European Parliament.

German MEP and former negotiator for the centre-right European People's Party in Parliament, Reimer Boege, resigned his position as negotiator last month over the compromise plan, accusing Mr Gilmore of manipulation.

However, the Tánaiste strongly defended his handling of the affair.

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.