As the European heads of state and government budget summit begins in Brussels, Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt has again made it clear that Denmark will not continue to accept what she sees as an unfair contribution regime, and that she continues to demand a DKK 1 billion contribution rebate.
“This discrimination must stop,” the prime minister says, adding that Denmark pays four kroner in contributions for each Dane, while other countries it can be compared with only pay three kroner per national.
“It is not fair that Denmark has to finance other countries’ rebates. Particularly when these are countries that we are normally compared with in economic terms,” Thorning-Schmidt says.
She says that there have been ‘intense contacts’ in connection with the EU budget negotiations up to the summit, but she declined to comment on reports yesterday that Denmark has turned down a proposal from EU President Herman van Rompuy.
That offer was reported to be well under the DKK 1 billion rebate that Denmark is demanding.
Britain, Sweden, Germany, the Netherlands and Austria all currently have rebates.
Some Danish opposition spokesmen have criticised Thorning-Schmidt for having played an EU budget veto card too early. Thorning-Schmidt has repeatedly said she is prepared to veto the EU 7-year budget proposal if Denmark is not afforded a DKK 1 billion rebate.
But the prime minister has rejected the criticism, saying that a veto was first threatened by the former Danish Lib-Con government’s finance minister Claus Hjort Frederiksen in 2011.
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Edited by Julian Isherwood