Italian presidency tries to appease Britain on EU bill – Hungary triggers rule of law ‘debates’ in EU council

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Series Details 04.11.14
Publication Date 04/11/2014
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Stefano Sannino, Italy’s EU ambassador, told journalists on 3 November 2014 that the idea of 'reform contracts' which had been encouraged by Germany was no longer being considered, as most of the Italian's EU Presidency was taken up with trying to resolve the British budget problem.

Reform contracts were a Germany-pushed idea under which member states would make reforms in return for solidarity.

Concerning the payments to the EU budget, Mr Sannino said changes to the rules were "part of the discussion", given that the size of the sum was an "unprecedented event with a significant political impact". On the other hand, any changes to the rules - which include monthly fines of at least 2.5 percent of the total sum if a country fails to pay on time - should not be seen as arbitrary, just because a country is unwilling to pay.

Mr Sannino also stated that the Italian Presidency was looking into new ways of taking the pulse of democracy in member states. The move was seen as a reaction to the Hungarian general attitude towards the rule of law.

EU finance ministers were scheduled to meet on 6 November and the EU affairs ministers on 18 November, in which they were set to discuss such matters.

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Related Links
ESO: Background information: New EU 'strategy' fudges British, German and Italian demands
ESO: Background information: The UK’s £1.7 billion EU bill puts the country one step closer to a ‘Brexit’
BBC News, 04.11.14: UK faces interest charges on EU payment demand
The Guardian, 03.11.14: UK faces punitive interest charges if Cameron ignores £1.7bn EU bill
EUObserver, 20.11.14: Hungary triggers rule of law 'debates' in EU council

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