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Blair: Britain May Give Up EU Rebate as Part of Budget Reforms


British Prime Minister Tony Blair says his country could give up its multi-billion-dollar annual EU budget rebate provided the group's overall financial plans are overhauled.

In London Tuesday, Mr. Blair called the rebate an 'anomaly' that must go. But he insisted that budget negotiations include a look at overall EU financing - including farm subsidies.

He said it would be difficult but entirely possible for the bloc to strike a deal on the budget when Britain takes over the EU presidency July 1.

Mr. Blair's comments follow last week's failure by EU leaders to agree on a six-year budget plan.

In Paris, French Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin called the British rebate a relic of the past. But he again stressed French objections to any change in the bloc's Common Agricultural Policy, which he called a major asset for France and for Europe.

Some information for this report provided by AP, AFP, Reuters.

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