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Chirac betrays Blair on Britain's rebate

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posted on Mar, 23 2005 @ 11:00 PM

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.

Chirac betrays Blair on Britain's rebate

I'm interested to hear from the UK/European folks on this.
Is this standard operating procedure and protocol for Europe or is it simply a typical Chirac 'thing'?

Almost seems to me that Blair is a glutton for punishment, especially since Blair has stood up and supported Chirac on a number of recent issues and has received nothing in return for that support.


[edit on 23-3-2005 by Seekerof]

posted on Mar, 24 2005 @ 07:32 AM
Chirac is under all kinds of pressure at the moment. What with unemployment in France near 10%, recent legislation to abolish the 35 hour week has been met with protests by the public.

France and Germany are also under a lot of pressure due to the latest meeting to discuss the liberalising of the service sector of the EU (less restrictions on the flow of labour through EU countries). If it had been accepted, eastern european countries would have flooded countries like France and Germany with very cheap labour, basically worst case scenario for them.

It gets worse, because France is having their referendum on the EU constitution in May. A No vote is unthinkable, yet the EU is currently nothing but bad news for Chirac. Political parties on the right and left(within France) are taking pot shots at Chirac and there is little he can do.

In my opinion, this talk of Britain's rebate is just Chirac trying to score points (Britain's strong ecomony is a major talking point within the EU), building up his EU constitiution campaign portfolio to take to the French public. I suspect at the moment it is a little thin. Blair is pro-europe so I doubt he will want to make Chirac's life any harder by making more of this.

Also unsurprising that the Tories try to put the boot in knowing full well Blair will not make an issue of it.

It is funny how Chirac is having to shout about his achievements in the EU, to get a Yes vote in France's referendum, and yet Blair tries to keep as quiet as possible (General Election May 5th, Europe not a vote winner for Labour), the next couple of months will probably see simlar stories, with Chirac appearing tough, and Blair not appearing at all.

posted on Mar, 24 2005 @ 08:45 AM
Squarepusher is right IMO.

This is nothing more than the periodic 'playing to the gallery' that sometimes goes on.
Chirac blustered to cover his failure at the summit and Blair didn't want to intrude on his private grief - or reignite a tedious old rerun of the anti-EU nonsense in Britain at this point as we in the UK get set to have a general election (like it isn't going to happen sonne enough anyway

The facts of the matter are that Chirac came away from the latest EU summit without anything more than a mere short delay to the new proposals for the services industry reforms he had hoped to see scrapped.
Which explains his comments as he was walking out the door to some of the assembled journos.

This in turn got picked up by the Brit press as if it were a - 'shock horror' - story about a 'they want to do away with it, new EU row over the British budget rebate!!!!!!.

Sadly for anyone actually interested in the actual facts of the matter it is rarely made clear in the UK that there is a small but very relevant stumbling block over this fantasy.......

......that the UK's budget rebate cannot actually be 'revoked' without British agreement.
Britain has a total veto on this

posted on Mar, 24 2005 @ 09:31 PM
Hey thanks you two for your imput.

I'm intrigued by the politics that happen in Europe and it has been quite interesting to watch the last couple of years.

I wish other UK or European members would post there thoughts to this, but hey, its cool and I appreciate what responses I have received.



posted on Mar, 24 2005 @ 10:12 PM
Just ran across this interesting article:
Chirac savaged by Press over EU rebate

And this:
Blair attack on 'out-of-date' Chirac


[edit on 24-3-2005 by Seekerof]

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