Blair_and_eu_star_2William Hague has responded to Tony Blair’s EU budget "deal" which sees Margaret Thatcher’s EU rebate reduced by £7bn:

“This is a poor deal for Britain, for the EU, and for the developing world.  We agree with the Government on the need to help the new Member States, and on the fundamental need to reform the EU budget and the CAP. We agreed that Britain should have been ready to negotiate in exchange for guarantees that those reforms would happen.  But the Government have spectacularly failed to achieve any such guarantees – merely vague promises of a process of reform in the future, in exchange for which they have surrendered £7 billion in Britain’s rebate alone. Those vague promises have come with a very high price tag.  Seldom in the course of European negotiations has so much been surrendered for so little.”

UKIP issued the following press release:

"Speaking on the BBC’s ‘Today’ program this morning (17.12.05), Nigel Farage MEP poured scorn on any claims that the European Union Budget deal had any benefits for Britain, “I think that people would prefer spending £1 billion of our money a year on district hospitals”, he said “rather than building a metro system for Warsaw”.  Claims made by Mr Blair that this was a good deal for the UK were “fiction”, he said.

“Mr Blair has given up the rebate, and Mr Chirac has merely offered talks about talks on reforming the subsidy junket that favours French farmers”, he said later. Blair has always said that he would not give up the rebate without reform of the Common Agricultural Policy. As a swansong to a dying British Presidency, this summit was an abject failure."