Brussels allows the Dutch to stagger €642m surcharge payments

European Union flags fly in front of the European Commission headquarters in BrusselsBrussels has given the Netherlands the green light to repay a €642m surcharge in its EU contributions in stages, Dutch finance minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem said on Friday.

Dijsselbloem said earlier this week he hoped to convince the European Commission to stagger the extra payments, rather than meet the December 1 deadline.

The full amount must now be paid by September 2015. ‘Given the circumstances, this is an acceptable position for the Netherlands,’ Dijsselbloem told news agency Novum. ‘We are now awaiting more clarity on how the figure was arrived at.’

MPs will next week question a number of experts about the surcharge, including economists from the national statistics office and the European statistics agency Eurostat, in an effort to determine the accuracy of the extra payment.

Dijsselbloem said earlier he would pay the extra contribution if the figures turned out to be accurate. However, he first wanted ‘verifiable and transparent’ figures.

Britain, meanwhile, has managed to have its surcharge of €2.1bn halved to €1bn.

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