Wednesday, July 14, 2004

Will they postpone a decision on the rebate?

It seems that there is a possibility that there will be no announcement today about the plan to scrap the British rebate as part of a complete restructuring of the financing system that is being worked out by the Budget Commissioner Michaele Schreyer. The whole plan will possibly be outlined publicly in a week’s time.

According to internal EU documents, German commissioner Schreyer wants to replace the rebate with "corrective measures" for all countries whose net contribution to the EU budget is greater than 0.35 percent of their gross domestic product, with a ceiling at 7.5 billion euros.

This is being opposed by Britain, for understandable reasons and France. As we have surmised before, there is a strong possibility that the new system would turn France into a net contributor, not something the French government is likely to support. Other countries, such as the Netherlands, might find that idea attractive but there is only so much communautaire feeling the French will permit themselves and Bastille Day is no time to start increasing that.

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