Friday, June 10

Danish PM calls on Blair

The Prime Minister has rejected French President Jacques Chirac's call for Britain to accept a reduced rebate from the European Union.

The French President had said the UK should make a 'gesture of solidarity' with other EU nations by re-negotiating the amount.

But, speaking outside Downing Street last night, Mr Blair said:

"First of all, Britain has been making a gesture, because over the past 10 years, even with the British rebate, we have been making a contribution to Europe two and a half times that of France.

"Without the rebate it would have been fifteen times as much as France, so that is our gesture. And the reason why the rebate exists is because otherwise there would be this quite unfair proportion of British contribution."

The PM was speaking after holding a meeting with Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen.

They discussed the position on the proposed EU Constitution, which was rejected by the French and Dutch during recent referendums.

The Danes are due to hold their own referendum later in the year.
Mr Rasmussen said:
"I have to make clear that there is a prerequisite to carry through with a referendum in Denmark. I fully agree with Prime Minister Blair that the European Union should respond in an appropriate way to the request from the peoples of Europe to give clear answers to problems that people feel in their daily life."

European leaders will discuss the issue again at a European Council meeting next week in Brussels.

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