World Bulletin / News Desk
EU finance ministers meeting in Brussels have announced a reduction in the €2.1 billion surcharge demanded from the U.K. by December 1 in an apparent concession to British Prime Minister David Cameron's demands for both a cut and delay in payment.
Kristina Georgieva, the EU commissioner responsible for Budget and Human Resources, told a press conference in Brussels on Friday that Britain would only pay about €1 billion ($1.25 billion) by a deadline of September 1, 2015.
She said the postponement of the surcharge until next year allowed the sum to be partially offset by a higher rebate.
The move was seen as an attempt to end acrimony with Britain which flared after the surcharge was levied by the European Union following an annual review, which showed the U.K.'s economic growth had fared better than most of its European neighbors since 1995.
Cameron had earlier called for both a reduction in the levy and a delay in payment.
He said during a summit of north European leaders on Friday: ''If those two conditions are satisfied then I’d be content, but if they’re not satisfied, then I won't be content.''
''Sometimes you pay a little bit more, sometimes you pay a bit less; what has been difficult this time is the scale of the payment that was asked not just from Britain but from other countries as well,'' Cameron added.
U.K.’s Chancellor George Osborne said before entering the EU Council: "The demand that Britain pays £1.7 billion [$2.6 billion] on the first of December is unacceptable."
"I will make sure we get a better deal for Britain," he added.
The surcharge dispute has not only sparked anger cross the U.K. but also comes amid heightened tensions between Britain and the EU, whose executive body – the European Commission – is calling for a €300 billion investment package.Last Mod: 07 Kasım 2014, 17:35