EU summit: Brussels under pressure as Czech leader Babis questions rebate increase | World | News


Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis questioned the decision from the EU to triple European rebates even though Britain has already left. The European Union rebates were originally intended to pay out to the UK – but this year, Brussels plans to increase the rebates to member-states. Mr Babis hit out at the decision as he arrived for the crunch EU summit, branding the move “totally unfair”.

He told reporters: “Before the pandemic, we were criticising these rebate.

“They were increased because of the UK and the UK has left.

“Originally these rebates were 14.5bn euros and now they are 45bn euros. Why are we increasing? They are not fair.

Before arriving at the summit, he also criticised the proposals, saying: “Even though the European Council president has heard our main criticism, we still think it is unfair. The proposal is unfair and ineffective.”

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He particularly took issue with the allocation of funds, saying this was a major stumbling block in the talks. 

Mr Babis said: “The Czech Republic was always the best for employment. It is not possible to penalise the successful countries because they were successful.

“Why motivate the countries to have unemployment?”

The Czech Prime Minister also criticised Italy and Spain for refusing to take funds out of the European Stability Mechanisms (ESM) over fears of the conditions attached.

French President Emmanuel Macron, who also arrived at the summit today, voiced confidence in the possibility of a deal at the summit.

He said he was confident but cautious that the European Union would reach an agreement on a recovery plan ahead of a European Council meeting in Brussels.

Mr Macron added: “We will do everything we can to find an agreement.” 

He added: “It’s our European project that in play here.”

The meeting is the first face-to-face Brussels summit for five months, held under strict social distancing rules.

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