Saturday, June 18, 2005

Jim Nicholson Urges Blair to defend the Rebate

A press release from the UUP reports that MEP Jim Nicholson said "Last week the Prime Minister made a series of statements, which seemed to send messages of compromise. He can say non, nej, nein or just plain no but he must make it explicitly clear that the rebate is non - negotiable." More here


NICHOLSON ISSUES STERN WARNING TO THE PRIME MINISTER OVER UK REBATE

Speaking as European leaders gather in Brussels for what is potentially
the most momentous European Council summit in the history of the EU,
Ulster Unionist MEP Jim Nicholson has issued a stern warning to the Prime
Minister 'to stick to his guns' on the UK's £3 billion rebate and 'to
protect it at all costs.'

In a statement the UUP MEP said,

"There is only one course of action available to the Prime Minister. He
must stand firm and protect the UK's rebate at all costs, even if that
means stalling negotiations on the EU's budget for 2007 - 2013.

"Last week the Prime Minister made a series of statements, which seemed
to send messages of compromise. He can say non, nej, nein or just plain
no but he must make it explicitly clear that the rebate is non -
negotiable.

"The UK's rebate is fully justified as without it Britain's net
contribution would have been 15 times that of France. He must resist Franco -
German pressure to abolish the rebate and not bow to the bully - boy
tactics adopted by the leaders of Old Europe.

"The other item on the agenda for discussion is of course the future of
the European Constitution after the NO votes in both France and
Holland. This issue has been conveniently brushed under the carpet in recent
days, kept from the headlines by the debate over the UK rebate.

"Let me make it clear to the Prime Minister. There must be no cherry
picking of the constitution and no ratification by stealth either.
Introducing the constitution by the back door would be a grave betrayal of
the British people. The Prime Minister must declare the constitution is
dead or hold a referendum to give the British People the opportunity to
consign it, once and for all, to the political dustbin.

"The NO votes in the Dutch and French referendums have provided us with
an historic opportunity to charter a new course for Europe, a Europe
closer to its citizens where the EU does less but does it better." Ends

Issued by UUP Press Office