Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy said Friday that progress was made during the just-concluded European Union summit on a budget deal and that Spain emerged from the meeting in a stronger position.

He spoke here at a press conference at the close of the gathering, in which EU leaders failed to reach agreement on the budget for 2014-2020.

Rajoy downplayed the lack of a budget deal, saying it was predictable that agreement would not be reached on the first attempt and that a new round of negotiations would have to be held to accommodate the interests of the 27 countries.

No accord was reached amid differences of opinion over the size of the budget, with Britain taking an especially hard line and demanding that current spending levels be frozen.

Most countries, however, objected to more austerity.

Spain defended its interests as the "big country" it is, but it also took into account the interests of its EU partners, the premier said.

He refused to talk in concrete terms about what Spain stands to gain with the latest proposal of European Council President Herman van Rompuy, which includes a specific allocation for Spain's regions of 2.8 billion euros ($3.6 billion).

Rajoy noted at the press conference the numerous bilateral meetings he held with other heads of state and government and the common front Spain formed with France and Ireland on agricultural policy.

France and Spain are the EU's two biggest recipients of farm subsidies.

"It's about adding friends to the cause," the Spanish prime minister said. EFE