The Chancellor of the Exchequer has made clear the rebate is a discretionary grant which is subject to annual renegotiation: ‘It is not a unilateral decision of the British Treasury or the British Government to just say, “This is our rebate. We are entitled to it. Pay up”. The way this works and has always worked is there is a negotiation with the European Commission’.
The rebate has no basis in the Treaties. It’s only existence is in article 5 of Council Decision 2014/335/EU. This expires in 2021, so the rebate could be abolished entirely in the event of a vote to stay.
During David Cameron’s ‘EU negotiations’ the UK lost its last bargaining chip veto, and if we remain in the EU we will be vulnerable to any changes the EU wish to implement on the UK.
Iain Duncan Smith: “They know that that right to veto gave us quite a strong position to stop development in the European Union which we did not want.
“We have given it away and that makes our position, if we vote to remain, even weaker than it was before.
“So don’t be fooled by the idea that there is some negotiation that we undertook.”
When the EU starts to negotiate the next Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF), the rebate will certainly be on the table again. Many other EU countries would like to see it scrapped or reduced.
But with the EU leaders required to approve the MFF unanimously, the UK which previously could have used its veto power would now be powerless because of David Cameron’s loss during the recent ‘EU negotiations’ which did not achieve any real concessions, but also lost Britain’s last bargaining chip in the EU.
Perhaps David Cameron is attempting to undo all the great work achieved in the past..