It’s been a long time coming.
Some of us would say it’s been over forty years in the making.
But now it’s actually happening.
The European Commission has sent the United Kingdom a bill for two billion euros ($2.7 billion; or 1.7 bn British pounds).
Britain has been a net contributor to the EU ever since she became a member of what was then the EEC (European Economic Community) in January 1973. Margaret Thatcher demanded the EU recalculate Britain’s contribution. They did and the UK got a rebate. But now it’s flared up again.
The British economy has performed better than other EU states, hence the request by the Commission for extra money. The Netherlands and Italy have also been asked to pay more. Germany and France will get a rebate.
The British Prime Minister showed considerable anger in parliament today, refusing to meet the demand of the Commission. Payment is due by December 1st.
The Prime Minister, David Cameron, has promised a referendum on the UK’s continued membership of the EU if his party wins the general election due next year. The British people, going through a period of austerity, are not likely to be favorable to any compromise as they see the EU as too bureaucratic and wasteful. Top officials are overpaid, with nothing to show for their bloated salaries. The anti-EU party, UKIP (United Kingdom Independence Party) is likely to gain more votes as a result of the EU’s demand. This will further weaken David Cameron’s Conservatives.
The refusal to pay the sum demanded could be the start of Britain going its own way outside of the EU. This could lead to the organization as it is now falling apart, leading to a reconfiguration of European countries built around Germany, the most dominant economy and another net contributor.