The Dutch parliament has sent prime minister Mark Rutte to a crucial two-day EU summit in Brussels with two mandates: to cap the EU’s spending plans and ensure the €1bn Dutch rebate continues.
The European Commission wants to increase the EU’s budget by 5% or €1bn, but the Netherlands, Britain and other western European countries are opposed to this.
Parliament on Wednesday debated the Dutch approach to Europe, with a majority of MPs calling for a reduction in the EU’s multi-year spending plans.
The EU needs a ‘sober, modern and just budget,’ Labour MP Michiel Servaes said during the debate. At a time when EU countries are being forced to make painful spending cuts, it is hard to justify an increase in the budget for Brussels, he said.
MPs also want the prime minister to press for the Dutch contribution rebate of €1bn to continue. The measure was agreed in 2005 but is due to expire in 2014, when the EU’s new seven-year budget comes into force.
The Netherlands will remain a major net contributor to the EU coffers in the long term, prime minister Mark Rutte told MPs during Wednesday’s debate.
‘You cannot improve your net payment position in one EU summit,’ Rutte said. ‘It is a multi-year project.’
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BBC Q&A on the two-day summit
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