UK "can't and won't" pay £1.7bn EU bill

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BRITAIN-POLITICS-LIBERAL DEMOCRAT
BRITAIN-POLITICS-LIBERAL DEMOCRAT



Nick Clegg has insisted the UK "can't and won't pay" the £1.7 billion demanded by the European Union by December 1 following talks with the French prime minister.

The Deputy Prime Minister told Manuel Valls that the UK wanted to apply some "technical scrutiny over a period of time" to the bill from Brussels.

Prime Minister David Cameron has insisted the UK will not pay "anything like" the amount being demanded.

Following the meeting in Paris, Mr Clegg said: "I of course raised the issue of the budgetary adjustment that has been asked of the United Kingdom and explained that we are wishing to apply some technical scrutiny over a period of time.

"We can't and won't pay that amount of money before December 1, but of course there is an adjustment process, which must be respected and we wish to work on that in a deliberate and considered fashion in the coming period."

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David Cameron: I Refuse to Pay 'Unacceptable' EU Bill
David Cameron: I Refuse to Pay 'Unacceptable' EU Bill


France is the biggest gainer from the recalculation of national contributions to EU budgets, and is due to receive one billion euro (£800 million), while EU partners including the Netherlands, Italy, Greece and Malta face surcharges.

Before the meeting, Mr Clegg said he would warn Mr Valls that, while France is a winner from the current round of readjustments to national contributions, it could find itself targeted with a massive bill through the "arbitrary and random" process in future.

The Deputy Prime Minister told LBC Radio that he and Mr Cameron were "as one" on the issue.

"We are not going to pay this money by the December 1 deadline that has been set," said the Deputy Prime Minister.

"It is a completely arbitrary, random way to behave to suddenly have this bill dropped into your lap without any warning and without any explanation."

Mr Clegg said the UK needed to "build alliances" to challenge the European Commission demands, adding: "We are not going to pay this money. It is not a way to do these things. It is not just a British problem, it is a European problem.

"If it is Britain in the spotlight today, it could be France or Germany next time."

He added: "We want to have a really close look at this and see what the retrospective effect is. We want to see what the effect is on the UK rebate. We are not going to pay it by that deadline, no matter what they say elsewhere."

Tough talk by Mr Clegg, but do you believe him? Share your thoughts on Facebook

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