EU boss rejects Dutch rebate bid
30 November 2005, AMSTERDAM — European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso has rejected out of hand the bid for a EUR 1 billion rebate on the Dutch contribution to the European Union's coffers.
30 November 2005
AMSTERDAM — European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso has rejected out of hand the bid for a EUR 1 billion rebate on the Dutch contribution to the European Union's coffers.
The Netherlands, Sweden, Germany and the UK are the biggest net contributors per head of population to the EU. British Prime Minister Tony Blair is the current chairman of the EU.
Barroso had a "very frank" exchange of views with Blair, who is working on a proposal to try to clinch a deal on the long-term budget at a mid-December summit, Reuters reported on Wednesday.
"You all know the old story of Robin Hood and the Sheriff of Nottingham. The president has made it very clear that he does not expect the British presidency to take the role of the Sheriff of Nottingham, taking from the poor to give to the rich," Commission spokesman Laitenberger told a news conference.
Blair wants to compensate the EU's major financiers by cutting aid to the 10 new member states that joined the EU last year. Such a cut would mainly impact the 8 former Communist-controlled nations to the east. This would result in the Netherlands having to contribute less to the EU.
The annual Dutch payment amounts to an average of EUR 180 per person. This is the highest per capita contribution of all member states.
The European Commission has countered by arguing that the Netherlands incorrectly includes customs payments for Rotterdam Port as part of national income. Brussels says this money should go directly to the EU, lowering the budget contribution per head of population.
[Copyright Expatica News + ANP 2005]
Subject: Dutch news