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Bruising EU budget battle for Blair

Tony Blair today faces a bruising encounter with fellow European leaders as he fights to save Britain's £3 billion a year EU budget rebate.
The row on the second day of the Brussels summit pits Mr Blair against French President Jacques Chirac, leading demands for the UK to abandon the rebate negotiated 21 years ago by Margaret Thatcher.

With Mr Blair determined to resist - and wielding the British veto -there is little chance of a deal just a day after the summit failed to resolve the political crisis over the rejection by French and Dutch voters of Europe's constitutional treaty.