The price of UK fiscal principle

This could be fun to watch. As Tony Blair starts to cam­paign for adop­tion of the new EU Con­sti­tu­tion by the UK, his gov­ern­ment is engaged in a fight with Brus­sels over a pro­pos­al to ter­mi­nate a €4 bil­lion bribe that was the price of UK tol­er­a­tion of the Com­mon Agri­cul­tur­al Pol­i­cy (CAP). bq. British offi­cials say that the rebate is still jus­ti­fied because of “mas­sive dis­tor­tions” in the EU’s spend­ing pri­or­i­ties, with about 40 per cent of the bud­get being spent on farm sub­si­dies. “The rebate exists because the bud­get is mas­sive­ly to the advan­tage of some coun­tries and to the dis­ad­van­tage of oth­ers, includ­ing the UK,” one said. “It is ful­ly jus­ti­fied and not nego­tiable.” (“Finan­cial Times”: Mrs Thatch­er, as far back as 1984, secured the “rebate” of part of the UK con­tri­bu­tions to the EC’s gen­er­al bud­get, now financed by a call on mem­ber states’ Val­ue Added Tax rev­enues. Her cry then, when faced with the excess­es of the CAP, was “I want my mon­ey back.” If only she’d stuck to her prin­ci­ples instead …

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