Fainting in Coyles An occasional letter from the
Heart of Euroville
Thursday, October 02, 2003
This will run and run
According to the Dutch newspaper Handesblatt there is going to be the mother of all rows when it comes to settling National payments to the EU. Essentially the continentals are aware that the prices are going to rise through the roof due to the costs of enlargement. The Dutch specifically feel that they will be paying way too much. Currently they put in .65% of their GDP. Meanwhile the Germans put in about .38%. Least of all on the input front come the Brits with .31% (due to La Thatch's famous rebate. Almost everybody else are net gainers from the common kitty).
Now no matter how fair it is and Commissioner Schreyer - she who is up against the wall over the Eurostat affair along with Sobles and Kinnock- is saying that it isn't fair. Whatis interesting is that she is suggesting that there should be a cap on the percentage handed over to the EU. This in itself would be a first as normally the EU comes up with minimum levels (see VAT rates). But the cap will be set below the .65% and no doubt above the .38%.
Now at this time of the EUs immense popularity - and the prospect of a tranche of Constitutional referenda across the Europe, this will go down very well with the Continentals.
But will the UK goverrnment be able to stomach it? I very much doubt it. Blair has enough on his hands without having to explein to the British people why they should pay more for something they hold in deep antipathy. And dear Gordon Brown would have kittens if his economic forcasts - already looking akin to Swiss cheese - had to handle a hike in EU contributions.
" This, she said, would also solve the problem of the British rebate.
Schreyer said that the economic situation of Britain had changed since the
rebate was negotiated and that it was time to put an end to it. [Handelsblatt,
29th September 2003]"