EU Budget Negotiations

Certainly, those in Brussels are not showing much love for Britain right now. That’s because MEPs voted overwhelmingly last night to get rid of the £3billion annual rebate that Margaret Thatcher originally secured for England. While completely ignoring the pleas for financial restraint from Britain and other countries, the European Parliament actually went ahead and voted for a 5% increase in the EU’s £117billion annual budget.

Winning with a Wide Margin

The overall package passed by a wide margin, with 468 in favor and only 134 against. British MEPs Andrew Duff and Edward McMillan-Scott actually voted in favor of it. Tory MEP Richard Ashworth, in contrast, accused Brussels of having an “ostrich mentality.” He then added that “MEPs are now on a collision course with many governments which have already indicated they will not accept EU budget increases. We need smarter spending, not more spending.”

Britain Sweating

The British rebate was already receiving a good deal of heat before this vote. Now, the vote yesterday will only strengthen the EU budget commissioner’s position since the commissioner, Janusz Lewandowsky says that the rebate has “lost its original legitimacy.”

Now, Mr. Cameron is in a tough position. He has rejected all previous efforts to reduce the rebate – but it looks like the rebate may now take the axe in the EU budget discussions.

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