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18th Jan 2020

Cameron slapped with new €2bn EU bill

  • Commission HQ in Brussels: The UK says it will challenge the decision (Photo: ec.europa.eu)

David Cameron was presented with a new bill for €2.1 billion by the European Commission on Thursday (23 October) as he endured another embarrassing setback in the EU capital.

The UK prime minister was told at Thursday's (23 October) EU summit that he must stump up the extra money because his country's economy has outperformed the EU average over the last four years.

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After three years of stagnation, the UK economy is forecast to expand by more than 3 percent this year, more than double the rate of the rest of the 28-country bloc.

Patrizio Fiorilli, a spokesman for the EU's budget commissioner, said that the bill reflected the UK's "additional wealth".

"Just as in Britain, you pay more to the Inland Revenue if your earnings go up," he explained.

The EU executive has given London a 1 December deadline to receive the cash.

But a UK government spokesman told the BBC that London will challenge the decision.

"The commission was not expecting and does not need this money," he said, adding that it is "not acceptable" to "demand [the funds] at a moment's notice."

The UK is not alone in being asked to dip into its pockets.

The Netherlands is also expected to stump an extra €600 million, which prime minister Mark Rutte described as "a nasty surprise".

Meanwhile, France and Germany are among a group of countries who will receive a rebate.

However, with Cameron under mounting domestic pressure to reform the UK's relationship with the EU, the timing could scarcely be worse for the UK leader.

The EU's spending plans for 2015 were also on the agenda at the EU leaders' meeting.

On Tuesday, MEPs rejected plans by governments to reduce the EU's budget commitments to €140 billion, insisting that €146.3 billion is needed to cover bills carried over from previous years.

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