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The figures in your article “EU cost”, 9 August 2009, are wrong.
In 2008 the UK did not pay £16.3 billion in the EU budget, but rather 16.3 billion Euro, of which it got back straight away 6.25 billion Euro under what is known the UK rebate. EU budgets are expressed in Euros, so figures should be converted into pounds before being presented to your readership. This means the UK paid about half the sum quoted in your article – 10.11 billion Euro or roughly £8 billion.
Having said that, it’s far too simplistic and perverse to confine the European Union to a price tag. There are an array of benefits – recognised and supported by a majority of the British public, according to a recent poll – that are difficult to quantify in cash: such as being part of a market of almost 500 million people, a cleaner and safer environment, and better security. It’s like saying that it costs money to buy a house without saying that you need a house in the first place and that you would be in much worse situation without it!
Head of Media
European Commission Representation, London