HELSINKI (Reuters) - British Prime Minister David Cameron said on Friday that failure to resolve a dispute over a European Union budget surcharge of 2.1 billion euros (2.60 billion US dollar) would cause “a major problem.”
EU finance ministers told Britain on Friday that the only way to end the row over a surprise budget bill to Brussels is to pay in interest-free installments, officials said, but Britain’s finance minister insisted the bill was “unacceptable”.
Speaking in Helsinki, Cameron suggested the mooted installment plan would not satisfy him, saying he still had a problem with the size of the bill and when it should be paid.
“The two elements that I said were absolutely clear was that we wouldn’t pay 2 billion euros on the first of December and we didn’t believe in paying anything like that amount,” Cameron said after the Northern Future Forum.
“Those are the two issues I have put on the table. I hope they can be resolved at Ecofin,” he added, referring to Friday’s meeting of EU finance ministers in Brussels.
“If they can be then that would be good, if they can’t then obviously we will have a major problem.”
(1 US dollar = 0.8065 euro)
Reporting by Kylie MacLellan in London and Jussi Rosendahl in Helsinki; Editing by Andrew Osborn