Richard North, 09/06/2005  

"The time has come for our English friends to understand that they have to make a gesture of solidarity for Europe." So says the French president after talks in Luxembourg on the EU budget, at the same time flatly rejecting calls for France to give up its EU farm subsidies to help secure a deal. Says the man: "We cannot accept a reduction of direct aid to French farmers."

So, let me get this right. Jacques "L’Escroc" Chirac makes a total Horlicks of his referendum, going down in history as the man who brought "Europe" skidding to a halt. Now he wants the UK to bung its £3bn rebate into the EU coffers as "a gesture of solidarity", when we already pay 2½ times more than France, mainly to fund direct aid to French farmers.

Nice one Jacques. What do you do for an encore?

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