French president Francois Hollande said Friday that a E1 billion rebate it is set to earn due to recently changed calculations in gross national income could be used as a bargaining tool in the country’s effort to convince authorities in Brussels it complies with the region’s fiscal rules.
Speaking to reporters at the end of a summit here, Hollande said that savings France stands to make could well be used to improve current figures France has put forward on its structural deficit, a key figure in the European Commission’s assessment of national budgets.
“David Cameron discovered that he owes, not him personally, but the United Kingdom, owes E2 billion due to new calculations provided by Eurostat,” Hollande said. “For France it’s one billion less. We can indeed take this into consideration with regards to the previous debate” on the French budget.
“I don’t know what Cameron is going to do, but I know what I am going to do,” he added.
Already strained relations between Britain and Europe worsened at a European Council meeting Thursday when it emerged that the European Commission has proposed raising the contribution that London makes to the EU’s 2014 budget by E2.1 billion.
The Netherlands was also asked to contribute more to the budget and the Dutch government said it was considering mounting a legal challenge to the move.