» Wednesday, June 8, 2005

EU Rebate

Asked what we would be asking for in Europe since we were no longer saying that the rebate was non-negotiable, the PMOS said that the premise was wrong. We had consistently said that we believed the rebate was wholly justified because of the balance of payments within Europe. That remained our position. We would not be afraid to argue our case and we would do so. Asked if it was still non-negotiable, the PMOS said that we had played these word games before. Our position was the same as it was a month ago, as it was before that. Put to him that it was a question of sticking by the words we had used, the PMOS said we stuck by the words that the rebate was wholly justified and we would continue to argue that case. Asked if we would consider a freeze on the level of payments, the PMOS said that we had not seen any proposal that was acceptable to us. Asked if that was saying we would reject such a proposal out of hand, the PMOS said there was no such proposal and he would not get into a hypothetical discussion on the matter. When pressed the PMOS said it was a case of putting an entirely hypothetical proposal to him and asking him to reject it. The fact of the matter was that we had not had any proposal which altered our position. We believed the rebate to be wholly justified and therefore we would continue to argue that case in Europe and that we continued to have a veto on any proposal that wasn’t acceptable to us. Put to him that refusing to say the rebate was non-negotiable was a change of position, the PMOS said no, we were continuing to reflect the position which we had set out.

Asked if we stuck by the position that the future EU budget should be reduced by 1%, the PMOS said yes. Asked if we were concerned about an ambush, the PMOS said that we had seen many reports in the past that we were going to be ambushed but that didn’t mean we were in any way complacent but we did keep our position.

Put to him that our language had changed, the PMOS said no. If you went back to the Press briefing note of about 3 weeks ago, you would see we had used precisely the same terminology. This was not a matter of adopting a macho position, this was a matter of arguing how we believed, given the balance of payments within Europe, our rebate was wholly justified. If we had to we would argue that case again. That did not change our basic position.

Briefing took place at 11:00 | Search for related news

1 Comment »

  1. what are the other EU members giving and what is their GDP. Is France that poor I don’t think so The contributions should be in line with wealth even if we have to give more as long as its fair.
    Regards Nick
    PS Paul Stinchcombe was a good MP

    Comment by nick lee — 10 Jun 2005 on 1:32 pm | Link

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