STOCKHOLM (Reuters) - Sweden will seek to keep a sizeable European Union budget rebate at a summit this week in the face of arguments it should pay more given an economy that is prospering in contrast to many of its peers.
Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt said other European countries were putting pressure on him to contribute more to the EU budget at a summit beginning on Thursday, and accept a cut in the money it gets back from the bloc.
“At the summit, I am going to argue for a substantial rebate (for Sweden),” Reinfeldt said. “However, I get very little understanding of our argument from most member states.”
“It is clear that we have long nights in front of us.”
Only a handful of member states enjoy such rebates and European Council President Herman Van Rompuy has argued that such discounts be cut. Sweden’s refund has amounted to 3.4 billion crowns (342 million pounds) in the past.
“Others point out that the Swedish economy has fared very well through the crisis, so that it is now time for Sweden to take a bigger budget responsibility,” he added, explaining the opposition to Stockholm’s position.
British Prime Minister David Cameron has said he will defend Britain’s own rebate, won by former PM Margaret Thatcher, which is worth about 3 billion pounds. Germany, the Netherlands and Austria also currently enjoy rebates.
Reporting by Daniel Dickson; editing by Patrick Graham