British Prime Minister Tony Blair has defended the EU budget deal in the face of fierce criticism at home. The UK rebate will be cut by 10.5 billion euros over seven years. Putting a positive spin on the figures, Blair said: “The rebate remains in full on all spending other than the spending for economic development in the new EU countries. In other words other than that money which we are investing in economic development for the future the rebate remains in full.”Opponents have attacked the deal, which sees a review of EU spending in 2008, describing it as a spectacular failure. New German chancellor Angela Merkel played go-between in negotiations, earning herself a good deal of credit. The British rebate was won by Margaret Thatcher back in 1984, who famously demanded: “I want my money back.” At the time the UK was one of the poorest countries in Europe and received relatively little from Common Agricultural Policy funds.