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The rebate aims to address the way that EU spending is dominated by agricultural subsidies largely favouring small farmers. There are millions of smallholders in France, which designed the system, but few in Britain.
A Government spokesman said the rebate was "fully justified in 1984 and is fully justified now. Even with it, Britain pays two and a half times as much into the EU budget as France in absolute terms. Without it, it would be 14 times as much.
"There can be no deal on future financing in June that does not protect the rebate."
Between 1984 and 2002 Britain paid £38 billion into the EU budget, compared with France's £19 billion.