The European Union's €960bn budget has passed its final hurdle, after MEPs overwhelmingly approved the seven-year-plan in Strasbourg this morning.

537 MEPS voted in favour, with 126 against and 19 abstentions.

The Irish Presidency of the EU secured the agreement of governments earlier this year for what is officially called the Multi-annual Financial Framework.

However, disputes over shortfalls in this year's budget led to the MFF vote being delayed by MEPs.

President of the European Parliament Martin Schulz described the plan as "far from perfect".

Labour MEP Emer Costello said the MFF would provide funding for stimulus, growth and jobs.

Fine Gael MEP Sean Kelly said it would ensure the European youth guarantee can tackle "the scourge of youth unemployment".

However, Socialist Party MEP Paul Murphy described the MFF as an "austerity budget" which highlighted the hypocrisy of MEPs who swore to oppose it but now voted to pass it.