Brussels back for more of your cash: EU asks Britain for an extra £1.7BILLION – because UK economy doing so well (while France gets £790m rebate)
The EU last night demanded an extra £1.7billion from the UK – because our economy is recovering faster than other member states.
David Cameron came under fire from MPs as Brussels demanded the hefty surcharge. To add insult to injury, France will receive a £790 million rebate because its economy is struggling.
Mr Cameron last night held meetings at a European Council Summit in Brussels in an attempt to challenge the fee, which represents almost a fifth of Britain’s net contribution last year.
The bill is due for payment on December 1, just days after the Rochester and Strood by-election, and will become an embarrassment for the Prime Minister as he tries to see off the threat from Ukip.
Ukip leader Nigel Farage said: ‘David Cameron once claimed that he had reduced the EU budget – but the UK contribution went up. Now, quite incredibly, our contribution goes up a second time. It’s outrageous.
‘The EU is like a thirsty vampire feasting on UK taxpayers’ blood. We need to protect the innocent victims, who are us.’
A Downing Street source said: ‘It’s not acceptable to just change the fees for previous years and demand them back at a moment’s notice. The European Commission was not expecting this money and does not need this money and we will do all we can to challenge this.’
EU officials said the top-up to fees simply represented a long-standing practice of adjusting contributions of countries based on their pace of growth.
Spokesman Patrizio Fiorilli said: ‘Britain’s contribution reflects an increase in wealth, just as in Britain you pay more to the Inland Revenue if your earnings go up.’
Mr Cameron is determined to challenge the surcharge, which comes on top of the net UK contribution to the EU budget, which was £8.6billion in 2013. He has held talks with Mark Rutte, prime minister of the Netherlands, which is also being required to pay a top-up.
Britain, which was told about the adjustment last week, faces the biggest increase to its payments covering the last four years. The UK is being asked for an extra 2.1billion euros. Preliminary figures show that the Netherlands will have to pay an extra €642million (£506m), while Germany will receive a rebate of €779million (£614m), France €1billion (£790m) and Poland €316million (£250m).
Mr Cameron will also make clear that Britain regards the European Parliament’s demand for a budget of €146.4billion (£115.8bn) in 2015 – as well as the extra top-up cash – as unacceptable. EU leaders agreed at a previous summit that next year’s budget should be no more than €140billion (£110.7bn), and a Government source said the MEPs’ bid was ‘unrealistic’.
‘Clearly we think that what the European Parliament are looking for is unrealistic in the current situation, at a time when families across the continent are dealing with the impact of the great recession,’ said the source. ‘We think they should be looking more ruthlessly at how they prioritise spending.’
Last night’s announcement provoked outrage from eurosceptic Conservative MPs.
Philip Davies, MP for Shipley, said: ‘The Prime Minister should tell them to stick their 2billion euro demand where the sun doesn’t shine.
‘We’re already paying £20billion a year in EU membership fees. They’ve got a damn nerve coming back for more. It seems now they are penalising us for having the good sense not to join the euro, and rewarding other countries for this political obsession with monetary union.’
Nick de Bois, the Tory MP for Enfield North, said: ‘Only the EU would demand more money when everyone is belt-tightening.
‘Only the EU would want to penalise growing economies to subsidise those that have not made the tough decisions. There is only one answer to such a ludicrous demand – No.’
Ukip MP Douglas Carswell said: ‘David Cameron’s Europe policy is literally incredible. We cannot believe him. Not since Ted Heath have we had such a bad deal for Britain.’
Tory MP Peter Bone added: ‘The Prime Minister has been absolutely ambushed. To pay £1.7billion because of the success of our economy is just rubbish. The British people won’t put up with this.’
Senior Tory backbencher Bernard Jenkin said: ‘It is no surprise that the EU punishes economic success and rewards extravagance and failure.’
Source: Daily Mail / Oct. 23, 2014