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Newsview :EU commissioner urges calm over bill
« on: November 06, 2014, 07:03:40 PM »

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EU commissioner urges calm over bill

Lord Hill has previously been leader of House of Lords
 
   
                      New European Commissioner Lord Hill has called for a period of calm in the row about David Cameron's refusal to pay a £1.7bn tax-contribution bill to the EU.
        In his first broadcast interview since taking the job, he also said the question of the UK's EU membership was a "boil that needs to be lanced".
        Mr Cameron has said the UK will not pay the EU surcharge by 1 December.
        Treasury sources said Chancellor George Osborne would continue to demand a cut in the size of the EU's payment demand.
        In a meeting with EU finance ministers, Mr Osborne will also press for any payment to be delayed or phased in.
        But a final agreement is not expected to be reached, the BBC's assistant political editor Norman Smith said.
        Last month, David Cameron reacted angrily to the bill presented to the government by the EU for £1.7bn (2.1bn euros).
  'Calm the situation'
         The bill is calculated to determine how much each member state should contribute in tax, based on how well their individual economy has performed.
        Lord Hill told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "It seems to me that this is one of those classic examples you get from time to time and where something that a group of people think are technical matters suddenly, and in this case for perfectly understandable reasons, become highly political.
        "The sensible thing now is to try to calm the situation down, and to look at the facts, and to look at a practical solution to the challenges that various member states face."
        Lord Hill, who was appointed as European Commissioner for financial services on 8 October, said a meeting of finance ministers later this week would go some way to finding that "practical solution".
        In his new role, Lord Hill said he was required to act in the interests of all the EU's 28 states, not just promote UK views.
        The EU debate in Britain was going through a "lively stage", he said, adding that other countries were having similar debates.
        He acknowledged that EU institutions could seem "very remote" to some member states.
 
  Mr Cameron said he would not pay the bill by the 1 December deadline
 
      A referendum on EU membership has been promised by the prime minister if the Conservatives win a majority at the next general election.
        Speaking on the wider issue of whether the UK should remain in the union, Lord Hill said he hoped the country would decide to do so.
        "My view is that on the back of a reform process, Britain would want to choose to stay in the EU," he said.
        "Obviously that's a choice for the people of Britain, there's democratic process to go through if we have that referendum. But I think it is good to address that question, I think there is a boil that needs to be lanced."
 
 
      Lord Hill's career
   Born in north London in July, 1960
     Read history at Cambridge University
     1980s - Special adviser to Kenneth Clarke in Conservative cabinet
     Early 1990s - Adviser to then PM John Major during EU's Maastricht Treaty negotiations, which launched euro
     1994-1998 - Senior consultant at lobbying firm Bell Pottinger Group
     Founding director of Quiller Consultants
     2010 - Becomes a Life Peer as Baron Hill of Oareford and junior education minister
     Serves as leader of House of Lords and leader of Conservatives in the House

Source: EU commissioner urges calm over bill




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