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Friday, July 03, 2009

one to watch

We've just come across an interesting piece on PA which says that this man, Jacques Attali, has claimed that Margaret Thatcher's famous budget rebate "victory" in Europe 25 years ago was actually a defeat which left her broken and "in tears".

He was a senior adviser to President Francois Mitterrand when Thatcher demanded "my money back" at an EU summit in Fontainebleau in 1984.

Now 65, he has said that Thatcher lost the rebate battle because she had to accept only half of her "embarrassing" demands.

On the BBC's Today Programme Attali said:
You will find the minutes of the discussion in one of my books... where you will see that Mrs Thatcher was asking something like 2000 ecus (a pre-single currency European accounting unit) and she ended up crying, crying in the middle of the meeting, accepting, begging half of it.
He contnued:
"Actually she cried. Mitterrand told me 'She's broken like a piece of glass'. And she actually was. I was surprised to see that, she was really broken when she accepted the final deal."
Mr Attali says the French considered the amount as not much more than "a tip", and in the end the rebate issue was just "an embarrassing appendix" at the Fontainebleau summit.

He explained:
"It was embarrassing begging for a tip and then we gave them (the UK government) half of the tip that she was requesting and we went on to very more serious issues."

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