Chirac again insists UK must give up rebate

15th June 2005, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, June 15 (AFP) - French President Jacques Chirac made a last-ditch appeal to Britain Wednesday to "play its full part" in the financing of the EU budget on the eve of a summit gathering EU leaders in Brussels, a French government spokesman said.

PARIS, June 15 (AFP) - French President Jacques Chirac made a last-ditch appeal to Britain Wednesday to "play its full part" in the financing of the EU budget on the eve of a summit gathering EU leaders in Brussels, a French government spokesman said.  

"Each (state) must contribute to the European effort in proportion to its means and the United Kingdom must play its full part in the financing of an enlarged Europe," Chirac told his cabinet, according to spokesman Jean-Francois Cope.  

The president also ruled out renegotiating the EU's Common Agriculture Policy, which provides subsidies to farmers in France and elsewhere. He said an EU agreement on the CAP decided in 2002 after a deal between France and Germany "applies to all and must be fully respected."  

Chirac and Blair have clashed over the EU budget in the lead-up to the summit, with the British leader saying after a meeting with the French president in Paris on Tuesday that there was little prospect of their "sharp disagreement" being resolved.  

Chirac, backed by most EU countries, has repeatedly called on Britain to give up its EUR 5 billion (USD 6 billion) rebate from its EU budget contributions.  

Blair in return has ruled out such a concession - unless the budget is overhauled to revise the costly agricultural subsidies.  

Britain, like each of the EU states, has a veto and has threatened to use it at the summit to block any move to force it to yield.  

Chirac, in his weekly cabinet meeting, reiterated points he has been pushing for: "budgetary discipline"; European "solidarity" to help new EU members to modernise; the "respect" of past agreements, namely the CAP; and "fairness" in having each state shoulder its share of the budgetary burden.  

The president added that he also wanted to see "a collective decision on the future of the ratification process of the constitutional treaty" and called on the European Council to mull about the direction of European unification and its perception by EU citizens.  

The EU summit comes nearly three weeks after French voters rejected a referendum backed by Chirac for the adoption of an EU charter.  

The 'no' result has since been replicated in the Netherlands, and Blair has said it is "clear" that the ratification process must be suspended, as he has ordered in his country, despite Chirac's wish to see it continue.

© AFP

Subject:French News

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