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Allister fears UK will concede too much on British rebate

17 November 2005

During a debate in the European Parliament on the outcome of the Summit at Hampton Court, DUP MEP Jim Allister said that the failure of the Summit to produce positive outcomes, on top of a distinctly lack-lustre British Presidency to date, was creating a scenario in which the British Government would be too eager to secure a face-saving deal on the Budget in December and that the price could be too much concession on the British rebate.

In the course of his remarks, Mr Allister said, "Mr President, from the spin of today one would think that much had been achieved at Hampton Court, but as we have already heard, the verdict of the informed EU press was almost universally negative. One press agency reported that many papers could not recall a more useless and shallow example of posturing with no outcome. One paper talked of a bizarre show of relaxed leaders who dodged the most crucial issues facing Europe. Another called it a summit of impasse with a facade of forced smiles. The Financial Times said in an article that the leaders attempted to answer the question of what impact globalisation would have on the European economy and concluded that we needed more research and development and, of course, more money. In other words, they failed to answer the question. The EU, the Financial Times said, is the wrong institutional platform from which to deal with globalisation. It has become too large and divided. The appropriate political levels are national governments and the Eurozone. I suggest that the article in the Financial Times comes close to the truth. If individual Member States were to expend the same effort and energy addressing the issue of how, as nations, to compete in a global market as they did in preparing showcase summits, then I suspect we might all see much more product.

My biggest fear arising from the failure of the Hampton Court summit and a lacklustre British Presidency is that it will make my government over-eager to secure a face-saving deal on the budget in December and that, as a result, Mr Blair will concede far too much on the British rebate, just so it can be said that something was achieved by the British Presidency that is to say something other than ensuring EU bankruptcy by opening the door to Turkish accession".

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