» Tuesday, June 21, 2005

EU Rebate

Asked whether the Prime Minister’s remarks regarding the rebate meant the rebate "could go altogether", the Prime Minister’s Official Spokesman (PMOS) said what they meant was they were on the table for discussion if there was a commitment and a process to guarantee reform. So long as the budget remained distorted in the way it was, then we needed the rebate. It was the nature of the budget which made the rebate necessary, both now and in the past, and therefore it was in that sense, not a tablet of stone, but rather a consequence of the problem that was created by the distorted nature of the budget.

Asked why did the Prime Minister tell Parliament on 11th June that it would "not be negotiated away, period", the PMOS said this was because if the budget remained distorted in the way it was, then we needed the rebate. That not just remained the Prime Minister’s view, it was what he had done at the summit. If the budget changed, then the symptom changed as well; the rebate was a symptom of the problem, as the PMOS had been saying for the past month. It was there for a reason, and it was not there as a fixed instalment, and it had always been argued for that reason. If the reason changed, then the justification for the rebate changed as well. What the Prime Minister was setting out was our approach to the negotiations, and we stood by that approach.

Briefing took place at 15:45 | Search for related news

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