Rebatable Benefit

Jacques Chirac may have stopped short of gloating about Britain’s surrender of part of the European Union rebate, but his extravagant praise for Tony Blair was the last thing the prime minister will have wanted to hear.

The French president went on television and radio from the Elysée to applaud Mr Blair’s “courage, initiative and responsibility” in making the concessions that led to agreement in Saturday’s small hours.

Mr Chirac said it was a “good deal” in which “an ambitious Europe showed solidarity with each other, rallied around this budget and made a political point”.

Call me an old cynic but I think we’ve been shafted. Well done Prime Minister.

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