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Britain wins EC refund, but it's only half a loaf

Britain won a rebate in its 1982 payments to the European Community budget, but only after it retreated significantly from its earlier demand for an even bigger reduction in its annual contribution to the EC. The agreement gave Britain a refund of $850 million out of an estimated net budget contribution of

The settlement reached by EC foreign ministers removes a source of argument and acrimony which has disrupted the community for months.

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The agreement, which officials said could only come as a disappointment for British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, was for one year instead of the five-year accord she initially sought, and was far less than the $1 billion to $ 1.5 billion refund she originally wanted.

The budget settlement - only marginally above the amount Britain refused just a few days earlier - came less than a week after a crisis arose between Britain and the rest of the EC over farm prices.

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