Britain and Europe - The Budget: Cashback Crisis

Spending plans from the European Union could make Britain the biggest contributor to a growing budget in eight years’ time. The twenty-year-old cashback deal is at stake too as a potentially costly reverse for any government.

The World Today Published 1 May 2005 Updated 20 October 2020 4 minute READ

Professor Richard G. Whitman

Senior Fellow, UK in a Changing Europe

Fixing the finances is going to be difficult, especially while Britain holds the presidency of Europe in the second half of the year and when the new constitution must be put before an apparently sceptical public.

Are the days of the British rebate from the European Union (EU) budget numbered? The Cheque Britannique, as French commentators prefer to call it, was agreed at Fontainebleau in 1984 by then Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher when she was said to have hand-bagged other European leaders into submission. It was intended to correct a distorted budget in which
Britain gained disproportionately less than the then nine other member states.

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