Coffee House

‘Cameron will not turn back’: EU budget summit under threat

9 November 2012

5:34 PM

9 November 2012

5:34 PM

Will David Cameron be denied his veto moment after all? Brussels sources appear to think the European Union budget summit on 22 and 23 November could still be cancelled. A report from Italian wire service ANSA quotes one source saying ‘everything indicates that it will be impossible to overcome the British veto’ and that cancelling the summit remains an option. This follows reports recently that Angela Merkel was threatening to cancel the summit as it was pointless if Britain was going to veto any increase above one in line with inflation. The German Chancellor had a lengthy dinner with Cameron to discuss the summit on Wednesday night, but their talks haven’t stopped the European rumour mill.

Interestingly, the sources also suggest that ‘Prime Minister Cameron has gone too far and will not come back’, and that ‘the possibility of a rapid exit from the EU is no longer considered a taboo’. Merkel demonstrated that she for one no longer considers it an empty threat on Wednesday, when she took pains to make clear that she could not imagine Britain leaving the EU, rather than simply batting away a question on the subject from UKIP leader Nigel Farage. And today the Telegraph reported that 49 per cent of voters would vote to leave the EU in a referendum.

The problem is that Tory backbenchers suspect Cameron still seems to regard leaving the EU as a taboo. His  speech on Europe, which James revealed last weekend will take place after the summit (if indeed the summit does take place), will need to offer Tory MPs a promise for an In/Out referendum as opposed to an In/In option where voters choose between a renegotiated relationship or the status quo, otherwise there will be uproar in the party. The response from disappointed Tory backbenchers desperate for this referendum promise could be to push for another backbench debate calling for a plebiscite, in which those who remained loyal in the EU budget rebellion would turn on the government. One currently loyal senior MP who would consider joining rebels in that vote were it to arise suggested that this would lead to a ‘confidence issue’ for the PM. If this much-trailed speech turns out to be an anticlimax, offering less than backbenchers expect, Cameron is in for a rocky winter with his party.

Subscribe to The Spectator today for a quality of argument not found in any other publication. Get more Spectator for less – just £12 for 12 issues.

Show comments
  • AuldCurmudgeon

    Given that we’re going to crash out of Europe, and it seems certain that we will, it would be better done sooner than later.

  • roger

    Budget negotiations are a waste of time.

    Last year Cameron talked tough and yet they went ahead and spent the money they didn’t have anyway, now wanting more money off contributing states to make up for the 2012 shortfall(overspend). Whatever we agree they will just go ahead and increase wages in Brussels , create new ‘programs’ and pay mafia conned subsidies .
    Bring on the referendum, i’m in the EFTA corner.
    And another thing Westminster, can we have English Common Law back, all these statutes are making us a bureaucratic hell hole.

  • Terence Hale


    ‘Cameron will not turn back’: EU budget summit under threat.Well so. In your newspapers was reported over the remarks from Hr. Schulz a Eurocrat.
    To put this in prospective. Hr. Schulz the President of the European Parliament a
    German Social democrat politician who Germany was happy to promote him to the
    European parliament, very must like in Britain when a politician gets on your nerves you make him a Lord. He is just bigger than the small.

  • William Blakes Ghost

    I see there are some dismissing the poll leads for withdrawal from the EU under the belief it can be turned around and that opinion can be turned around..

    Firstly, given that the actual poll indicates that 5% would not vote in the referendum the poll suggests that currently a majority of those who will vote in a referendum would vote to leave the EU

    52% To leave the EU
    29% To remain In The EU
    18% Do Not Yet Know

    . The idea that in the current environment a pro-EU camp could develop a campaign to persuade a complete reversal in such figures, given they have no tangible arguments (i.e. their arguments are no more than scaremongering speculation and veiled threats) for the UK remaining is implausible to say the least. As if the people’s of Europe having suffered two disasterous and horrendous World Wars and having seen the destructive potency of nuclear weapons (amongst other WMD’s) couldn’t see the benefits of peace without the EU? As if the people’s of first the late 20th and and now 21st century Europe cannot trade with each other and the rest of the world without the beloved guidance of Brussels. Who makes up such crap?

    The EU has no recognised record of or reputation for beneficial involvement in the UK (there are no spontaneous ‘We Love The EU’ campaigns on Twitter) and now seemingly is on the brink of insolvency whilst stubbornly persisting in pursuing a self-serving profligate, unrealistic, and generally uninspiring and undesirable, if not delusional vision of the future.As a result, I suspect the EU is generally perceived in the UK as at best as an annoying interfering nuisance and at worst a corrupt dysfunctional and increasingly oppressive parasite that denies the British people (amongst others) its democracy and sovereignty. In such circumstances does anyone seriously think a pro-EU campaign in a referendum would succeed (particularly considering the motley crew of has-beens and failures who would likely front it?) given their current shortfall in popularity?

    The only reasons for not having an in/out referendum are that the outcome is not the one the “establishment” want or the “establishment” are not ready to take on the implications that the outcome of such a referendum decision to withdraw would present. EIther way further “establishment” prevarication on the issue of the EU will likely turn out increasingly poltically toxic and only further ensure withdrawal eventually,

  • William Blakes Ghost

    How ironic. It was on 22nd day of the 11th month, 22 years ago that Margaret Thatcher resigned leading to the reign of the Europhiliac quislings in this country. So could it be that the betrayal which started on the 22nd of November will end on the 22nd of November after 22 years? Numerologists and astrologers fill your boots. As an aside it was also the day Merkel became german Chancellor as well.

    As to the politics of it all, Like all self respecting Eurosceptics I reman sceptical that the Cameron Hague alliance is Eurosceptic.I hope I am proved wrong. The thing is ultimately it doesn’t matter what is said or what some twerp in Italy or Germany or Fleet Street thinks but what Cameron delivers. If he delivers this country it’s sovereignty back much can be forgiven. If not his biographers can continue working on his political epitaph……..

  • Coffeehousewall

    A Britain outside of the EU, with national sovereignty and most recent immigrants and migrants invited to go back to their home countries may or may not be poorer. But it would be better.

    • M. Wenzl

      Would it? Why?

    • barbie

      I agree, it sounds great but will it ever come to pass?

  • Richard

    Perhaps Cameron is merely being cautious on this one, and for a very good reason. The 49% figure for those who would vote to come out leaves substantial doubt over whether the In/out vote could be won.

    Though I would be happy to leave the EU, and a vote to leave the EU would be a good thing, anyone would have to admit that a vote to stay in would leave us worse off than we are now.

    The UKIP and Out supporters assume the 49% could be grown to a majority, but I don’t think so. There are two reasons people might vote to stay in:

    1. The British are not inherently isolationist. In a vague sense we like being part of a club. We just don’t like being ordered about.

    2. The strident UKIP types ought to leave the Out campaign to Cameron and other mainstream, media-savvy types, but they won’t. They will give an extremely bad impression, exactly as they did in 1975. Remember that? With the cabinet split down the middle and everything to play for, the Out campaign was trounced.

    Now, coming out of the EU is OK. Repatriating more powers is also OK. Staying as we are is tolerable to most people. BUT, losing a referendum and thereby losing the relatively strong position we have would be a complete disaster. How could any UK government stand up to Federalisation when the country had just voted to stay in?

    Those “desperate for a referendum” need to be very sure they are going to win. 49% in a Telegraph poll is not sure enough for me, or for Cameron I suspect.

    • M. Wenzl

      I salute your reasoned approach to the matter. Certainly, one wishes that UKIP and the tabloids would clear off while an earnest debate regarding UK membership proceeds. Although the nation is eurosceptic, the 49% who would vote to leave is a soft figure constructed by the aforementioned influences. If there were a rigorous debate on the issue, weighing the pros and cons, with the Europhiles coming out from hiding, I’m sure we’d have a far clearer idea of where the nation stand.

  • H Villosa

    a brief period of time spent in countries:
    outside the EU: Switzerland & Norway
    inside the EU: Spain, Greece
    would suggest to some people, that one is better off outside the EU,
    unless you prefer 50% youth unemployment & riots; to a well ordered and prosperous society

  • Matthew Hopkins

    It is time Britain abnegates from the EU – and this is the right step that Cameron is doing – maybe he is starting to be a Tory.

    • Vulture

      ‘Maybe he is starting to be a Tory…’ says Matthew Hopkins. Wishful thinking, I fear, Mr Witchfinder General. David Cameron, ever since he seized the leadership by pretending to be a Tory, has demonstrated the contrary. He is a left-liberal Metropolitan poshie in faux Conservative clothing and totally duplicitous to boot. Conservatives should really have got this by now, but they are not called the Stupid Party for nothing.

      • Matthew Hopkins

        I agree; Cameron is as you describe him – and who is to blame for this ? We in the party are because we ( Not I ) picked him as leader of the party.

        He is a casuist who hides under the umbrella of Conservatism; however, he cannot silence the right wing eurosceptics for eternity and that.

  • Garyessex

    Rocky Winter – a light middle-weight contender, if I’m not mistaken

  • Boudicca_Icenii

    Let them cancel the Budget Summit – who cares. The ‘negotiations’ are a complete sham anyway with the UK being told it must pay more to fund a profligate EU which is riddled with fraud and whose accounts haven’t been signed for 18 straight years.
    Cameron just needs to make it absolutely plain that he isn’t paying over any inflation busting increase, regardless of what the EU says. We’re broke and we’re not borrowing to fund the Kommissars grand lifestyles or to pay more to the recipient nations.
    Farage had it right: it’s time for an amicable divorce from the EU. The sooner the better.

  • Heartless etc.,

    When there are so many more pressing matters that require attention – like saying a final Goodbye to the Axis Powers, – why do we so often find the H2B in the company of the doppelgänger?

    • HooksLaw

      Axis powers? Well thats a grown up debate obviously.

  • barbie

    Cameron, as got himself into this situation not his Tory rebels. If he had given the go ahead for a referendem when he should have done, it might not have been so hard to win, now its impossible. Has for Mrs Merkel, saying we will be alone on a island, well we’re used to that situation, and it’s one we like. She obviously has forgotten we fought her country, twice, as the same island, and won; in those circumstances we sick together like glue. Nothings changed.
    What has changed is the knowledge that Germanay wants Europe via the back door and it won’t wash. Of course if no agreement on the single market and free trade is reached, then we may have some difficulties. France would of course love that. However, Europe sells to us more than we sell to them, so we need eachother and it would be counterproductive to be mean. We must be prepared for all options. I would vote to leave with a free trade and single market agreement, like some within the EU. We don’t need their laws, their unelected dictators, and restrictions and high taxes to fund their expensive and unnecessary parliaments etc. I’m glad Cameron has stuck to his guns, but we must question the fact, would he have been so definate if his rebels had not shown him they mean business too, I doubt it. I hope they keep up the pressure our freedom and independance depends up on them.

    • HooksLaw

      ‘Europe sells to us more than we sell to them, so we need each other’ — that is a shaky foundation to build on. the amount the EU sells to us is small by the standards of their overall output.
      The reality is that the UK somehow OUT of the EU but still a member of the single market would be little different to being IN.
      The big issue is the EU itself and how it is run. That needs to change. A weak Eurozone is bad for us whether we are in or out.
      If the Eurozone merge ever closer together then the answer will probably resolve itself, we will have some quasi EEA relationship with the EU and the issue will be just how much say we have in single market issues.

      • Martin Keegan

        Ah sorry, I see you’re making the distinction between different flavours of “out” already 🙂

        • HooksLaw

          There are indeed many flavours of OUT, but the people who pound on about OUT never say what they mean or how realistic it is.

      • HellforLeather

        “The big issue is the EU itself and how it is run. That needs to change.”

        And how realistic is that?

      • IRISHBOY

        Markets, successful ones, depend on differences, so the greater the difference, the greater opportunities there are for success.

      • barbie

        Whatever the outcome, we here in the UK want to do under our own terms and not the terms detirmined by Germany, if others wish to go down that route so be it, but count the UK out. We have fought and died for these islands and the freedom within them, we refuse to throw them away for a nest of unelected EU boffins, who attempt to rule us by power alone. How liittle they know the British spirit. Fools the lot of them. The French will rebel once they realise their state as surrendered.

  • Rhoda Klapp

    That Merkel seems to have a very limited imagination.

    • 2trueblue

      She is bereft of any.

  • 700islands

    Angela Merkel would do well to start imagining what she says she cannot. Britain may well leave the EU and if it does many things will change, and not just for Britain. Germany will find itself in a reduced block where the political centre ground has shifted significantly away from a rule-based free market approach to something more statist, protectionist and corporatist. Will Germany be comfortable in such a club? If Merkel wishes Britain to remain in the EU she had better start coming up with some compelling reasons to entice us to remain.

    Perhaps it is significant that she came to London, though if her visit was to listen or lecture is not known. But if she is listening she must understand that the British are tired of the current relationship and we are considering the other options. Broadly speaking there are two; we can renegotiate or we can leave.

    Britain’s policy towards Europe was always to encourage free trade, market economics and democracy partly as part of a wider strategy to defeat the U.S.S.R. and partly to prevent the rise of a European power with which we might have to contend. This was a policy that arose in a very different world, one where Europe lay shattered after WWII, the U.S.S.R. and Communism in general held sway over much of the world and much of the rest was in the hands of one dictator or another. Democracy lived on only in the English speaking world, a smattering of islands and the western fringe of the Eurasian continent. Barriers to world trade were high. America and Britain’ policy of encouraging free trade and democracy has born considerable fruit and the U.S.S.R. has gone. In many ways it is a monumental victory. But as free trade spreads around the world and the governance of free trade passes to the W.T.O. and as democracy spreads, the need for local groups such as the E.U. falls away. Increasingly the E.U. is a hinderance rather than a help.

    We are not little Englanders. We are thinking big. Bigger than the E.U. straight jacket will allow. We want free trade agreements with the Anglosphere, with the Commonwealth. Indeed the GDP of both the Anglosphere and the Commonwealth are greater than the E.U. as a block. We want to go where the growth is and trade more with India, China and Brazil. We want our seat at the W.T.O. back. We want our Common Law back and out of this Mickey Mouse European court with its strange rulings. We want our identity back and our culture. There is quite a lot to go for outside the E.U. And if the E.U. imposes tariffs on our goods the cost of this can be more than off set by removing unwanted E.U. regulation. That is the measure of how uncompetitive the E.U. has become: it would cost this nation less to trade with the E.U. from outside while paying all the tariffs then it does being on the inside, not paying tariffs but paying for the cost of regulation. (And for you he-haw Europhiles barking “oh, come on”, remember that inside the E.U. we have to comply with all E.U. regulation on 100% of our economy, while outside the E.U. we would only have to comply with the regulations on the 4.7% of our GDP that comes from trade with the E.U.)

    Your problem, Mrs. Merkel, is we are coming to believe we are better of out.

    • HooksLaw

      The European Court which you seem to be alluding to with its ‘strange decisions’ has nothing to do with the EU. It is the ECHR which we founded.
      If its the ECJ – well that just interprets EU rules, much to the gratification of makers of Melton Mobray pies.

      The notion that outside Europe but inside the single market we would not have to comply with EU regulations is unutterably naive. Take a look at Norway.

      ‘Free trade’ is about many things not just tariffs and free trade with the USA for instance would involve significant loss of sovereignty and compliance with US demands to let their companies take our markets. The UK on its own would not be well placed to defend itself.

      • 700islands

        The EU proposes to make the ECHR its Supreme Court. Yes, we did found it after WWII, and it was a good idea. Europe was in terrible shape and justice was one of the keys to rebuilding it. We can be proud of that. The problem is the court now wants to impose its authority over Britain. You can make an argument for that but it is not an argument this country will buy. The coming change in the power of the ECHR is another reason why we must renegotiate our relationship with the EU.

        Poor little Norway, constantly held up as an example of all the bad things that might happen to silly old Britain if we don’t go along with the EU. Its interesting to note that unfortunate Norway has a GDP higher than ours. Also, while being outside the EU it manages to trade two and a half times our trade per capita with the EU. And yes, it has had to adopt some 30,000 EU laws or regulations since 1992, without having the “influence” Britain has. Britain on the other hand has had to adopt over 300,000 EU laws and regulations. So the unutterably naive Norwegians have to put up with only 10% of the EU regulations and red tape we do while doing more trade per head. How daft of them. I mean, who would want that sort of a set up? Obviously swivel eyed and loony. The key is that Norway must comply with EU regulations only so far as it trades with the EU. All other areas are exempt. In Britain 4.7% of our GDP derives from EU trade, yet 100% of our economy is regulated by the EU, and that Sir is unutterably naive of us. EU regulations cost the British economy billions and make us less competitive exactly when we need to be engaging with the emerging economies of the world. To grow we must go where the growth is and it most certainly is not in Europe. Europe’s GDP is declining as a percentage of world GDP. We need to widen our horizons and stop being so provincial.

        The U.K. is the 7th largest economy in the world, one of the largest military powers in the world, one of the worlds great trading powers. We have connections through law, language and custom with many of the nations of the world. The idea that we cannot negotiate for ourselves is pathetic. Many nations in the world do just that. Australia does fine, and is half our size. Rather, as a member of the E.U. we have lost our voice at the WTO, the organization that now runs world trade, as we gave it to the EU. Increasingly we find ourselves at odds with EU policy. The truth is our EU membership is costing us influence on the world stage. We are losing influence, losing opportunity and that is costing us.

        Clearly you are pro Britain being in the EU. You give no positive reasons for being there. All your reasons are based upon fear, the fear of being too small, or being alone. You also dress up your fear in sneering arrogance. Sorry, but your arguments are just wrong. If Britain is going to stay in the EU those of you who are in favor need to come up with much better reasons, you need to make them compelling, and then you need to win over people like me, who are most certainly not coming at this from a Little England point of view. We want a bigger Britain and feel constrained by the EU.

        • HooksLaw

          ‘The EU proposes to make the ECHR its Supreme Court.’ — oh yes who proposes that?
          Human rights are one thing – but do you have any concept of the range of activities done by a ‘supreme court’ or court of appeal?
          Where is this being proposed?

          You are saying that the ECHR which we set up is fine for everybody else but not us?

          What I am saying is that there is little difference in being OUT of the EU and indeed the very concept is flawed since there would be little difference to being IN (thats because of the rules applying to the single market).
          If pushed I would say that being in the EEA would work OK, but I am not fooled into thinking it would be significantly different. And we are not Norway and would find it difficult being dictated to by the EU without a say in its rules.

          On the face of it it would be worse since we would have little say in the rules – I cannot see the EU letting us be both IN and OUT at the same time, though I think we should at least try.
          And try we can once the Eurozone try to get a new treaty for themselves.

          You grandly create a new world for the UK to live in but have no notion at all of the fresh difficulties we would face. The inevitable first step to being OUT would be to negotiate our best way to be virtually back IN again.
          Thats what trade deals are. Pooling sovereignty.

          • Martin Keegan

            I think you can Google for who is proposing making the ECHR the supreme court. I think it is better described using the proponents’ own reasonably honest terminology, which is for the EU itself to accede to the ECHR treaty. I don’t think these distinctions undermine the point you’re trying to argue against.

            I would say the ECHR, which we hardly set up, is not fine for us, or for the Republic of Ireland, but particularly not for us, as we (and the French) don’t have a strong tradition of judges striking down legislation. The EU’s Court follows the French model, and doesn’t strike down legislation as unconstitutional (though it is fair in ensuring that legislative procedure is followed strictly) – it never says “the EU has no power to make this legislation” only “the council/commission etc didn’t follow the right enactment procedure” or “this legislation contravenes case law made up by the ECJ”.

            To me, “out of the EU” means *out of the Single Market*.

            Some Eurosceptics use “out” to mean “in the EEA/EFTA”, and this Europhile claim that we’d have to implement the regulations is correct if that’s what “out” means.

            But “out” is ambiguous. All sides of the debate need to get some standard terminology.

            I want “out of the EU, out of the EEA”. Some people want “out of the EU, in the EEA” (or in the Single Market, or the Customs Union). Both of these are called “out” of the EU. We need to be clear which one we’re talking of. Your argument is irrelevant to my sense of “out”, though obviously not to the other sense.

            I think it’s misleading to characterise trade deals as “pooling sovereignty”, but the word “sovereignty” is so ambiguous (does it mean national sovereignty as against other nations, or parliamentary sovereignty as against the courts and the crown, or does it mean something to do with the Queen, etc, etc). It’s like the Eurosceptic smear term “superstate”. Anyone who uses it is deliberately or unwittingly confusing themselves and others.

            Being outside the customs union and the red tape union (or “Single Market”) is going to be tough initially, but we need to think about the long term, and we need to *quantify* what the various options mean for our prosperity.

            • HooksLaw

              The ECHR is not a ‘supreme court’.

              Take one example of a free trade agreement that the USA sought with Australia. Australia found itself having to agree with USA rules on copyright.
              In other areas both had to agree each others environmental laws. Pharmaceuticals and medicines become important.
              The links become insidious.

              You would think that a free trade agreement with USA Mexico and Canada would be straight forward but it is fraught with complications and disputes and loopholes.

              You seem to say you want out of the single market. Well I would speak to a few exporters and their workers about that.

              We would not be outside a red tape barrier we would be mired in it. And outside tariff barriers as well.

              The reality is we would have to conform to standards and the whole free movement of trade across would dictate we would need to do more.

              The notion of being out is clear – its a pig in a poke – no one knows what being OUT really would mean.
              The scandal is that those who parrot OUT never confess or tell what that means.

            • TomTom

              The French Supreme Court Can STRIKE DOWN Legislation which the British “Supreme Court” cannot nor can the US Supreme Court. They are very different creatures. The farcical notion of a British “Supreme Court” created by Blair is that it cannot overrule Parliament which can simply legislate – the Court can simply claim a conflict with EU Law or ECHR but it cannot do anything more

              • Martin Keegan

                Can the “French Supreme Court” “STRIKE DOWN” legislation?

                Do you mean the Court de Cassation or the Court constitutionelle? Neither can strike down legislation, as I understand it – can you post me a reference to evidence that I’m wrong? Wikipedia (I know, I know) says otherwise:
                “Neither court has the power to strike down primary legislation” (followed by various qualifications)

                • TomTom

                  I recommend Articles 61 and 62 of the 1958 Constitution

                • Martin Keegan

                  Which prove my point: there is in practice, no effect ex post review of legislation by French courts, as in the UK. I am not saying whether this is a good or bad thing, just that it is a reasonable description of reality.

              • Curnonsky

                The US Supreme Court can and does regularly strike down legislation it finds unconstitutional. Except when it finds it politically expedient to uphold it (cf Obamacare).

                • TomTom

                  It cannot strike down legislation. It has an APPELLATE function only – you must read the Constitution Article 3. You must read up on the difference between Appellate Courts (Courts of Last Instance) and Courts of First Instance

                • Curnonsky

                  The Supreme Court is the highest court in the US system and decides all cases brought before it on the basis of the Constitution. It has many times struck down laws for being unconstitutional, that is its function. It serves to check the power of the legislature. You must do your homework before you pronounce.

            • viewcode

              “…we need to *quantify* what the various options mean for our prosperity….”

              Amen. There are arguments for staying in the EU and arguments for leaving (via EFTA, EEA, or just out entirely). But until people give me proper numbers (and I mean ONS-level numbers, not made-up numbers like “4.7% of our trade is with the EU” or “one hundred beeelion dollars”), it’s just noise

        • Martin Keegan

          700islands. I don’t know who you are, Sir, but I like your style.

          Keep up the good Euroscepticism! It’s such a relief to find my sorts of argument being expressed by someone else.

          • 700islands

            Thank you for the kind words.

        • TomTom

          NO ! The ECJ is superior to the ECHR since the ECHR can be ignored and has no power to enforce judgments.

        • viewcode

          “…Britain on the other hand has had to adopt over 300,000 EU laws and regulations…”

          Hmmm. Can we make our mind up on the number of laws and regulations, please? This site ( ), no Europhile site i’m sure you’d agree, says that New Labour passed 30,000 laws and regulations during its 13 years. That leaves 270,000 laws and regulations occuring during the Thatcher and Major administrations. That’s implausible.

        • viewcode

          “…And yes, it [Norway] has had to adopt some 30,000 EU laws or regulations since 1992, without having the “influence” Britain has…So the unutterably naive Norwegians have to put up with only 10% of the EU regulations and red tape we do while doing more trade per head. “

          That’s possibly true. Norway has to adopt the laws and regs that concern aquavit, herring, fishing, the reportage of suicide rates and the depiction of female detectives wearing FairIsle sweaters and staring into the bleak darkness. But for some unfathomable reason Norway doesn’t have to adopt those concerning sunstroke, Mediterranean fishing, the Sicilian Mafia, the preservation of Greek architecture, bullfighting, and hummus. Bad EU!

        • viewcode

          “…Also, while being outside the EU it manages to trade two and a half times our trade per capita with the EU…” and “…The key is that Norway must comply with EU regulations only so far as it trades with the EU…”

          So if I understand your argument correctly, if we leave the EU and become like Norway, we’d increase our trade per capita with the EU to 250% of its present size, and end up obeying 250% of the regulations. And this makes things better?

      • Boudicca_Icenii

        The ECHR has massively extended its original remit. It is no longer the organisation which we founded; it is constantly seeking to extend its powers and in so doing is riding roughshod over issues which are not human rights, but civil rights, which should be left to each individual nation to apply according to the wishes of its Parliament.

        • TomTom

          WRONG Most cases that go against Britain are because the UK Government wants them to and does not defend the case. It is a backdoor way of legislating without public support and has been used frequently. It is a MYTH that the Court has extended its remit – the only change is that JUdges on the Court are actually Civil Servants from JUstice Departments not trial lawyers and this has increased since Eastern Europe joined. The Court was created by Britain to humiliate Stalin’s Zone of Occupation when British hubris ran high

          • barbie

            It was, and now it’s time the UK dumped it it’s gone off it’s remit.

      • TomTom

        that just interprets EU rules No, it is the Supreme Court for this country and EXTENDS the role of EU “Rules” by its Judgments

    • TomTom

      Germany has a natural ally in Russia. It no longer needs France.

      • HooksLaw

        You have been talking to David Lindsay again.

        • TomTom

          The day I talk to David Lindsay for news on Germany is the day you get to be taken seriously

          • HooksLaw

            You seem unable to recognise irony, or is it sarcasm. But is saying that Germany has a natural ally in Russia you certainly seem unable to recognise reality.

            Germany has a natural gas ally in Russia. In terms of meaningful allied relationships Germany is in NATO.

            • TomTom

              Germany has a business relationship with Russia way beyond gas – Rheinmetall is building military facilities in Russia and you forget that pre-1914 Siemens had 90% market share in Russian electrical supply……German is Russia’s key trade partner and Turkey’s main trade partner too with construction firms and consumer businesses. You have no idea in Britain how much is going on

              • Vulture

                But the main point about your beloved Vaterland, Herr Tommee, is that the Germans are dying out. They have simply stopped breeding
                ( and after what they did over the past century who can blame them?) Their demographic is ageing, their German population shrinking ( the only ones who are breeding in Germany are the Turks) and their Welfare bill for their elderly population increasingly unsustainable. And all this at a time when the good they make are being undercut by Asia. Germany is on the skids like the rest of Europe – and probably more rapidly than most. It’s an extraordinary admission, but for once I have to agree with Trev – aka Hookie: what Dave should tell Frau Frumpel is ‘Auf Wiedersehen, Pet’.

                • Heartless etc.,

                  But there is something strange about this piccy : no sign of the flags of the EUSSR or of Great Britain. Are they no longer necessary? Who is representing what? Or is this just a cozy tête-à-tête between employer and staff?

                • Heartless etc.,

                  No – wrong reading! Looking again, I see the bowed head of the subservient, the wagging finger of der Vorgesetzte.

                • TomTom

                  Rubbish. The Japanese, Chinese, British, French, Italians have the same demographic so do Turks in Western Turkey and Russians. The population growth in Turkey is in Eastern Turkey, largely Kurds – in most of the world where population is expanding it is PUBLIC POLICY to send them to The West to gain remittances.
                  The population of “Germany” was ravaged by the Thirty Years War – it recovered. Population is not a trend-line – just as the stupid British closed down primary schools and rid themselves of 1 million hospital beds only to find an exploding population short of primary schools and ageing immigrant demographic needing hospital beds. Vulture you think History is a straight line trend and you are wrong. Jews were dying out in 1942 but apparently have made an amazing recovery since……….you must develop flexibility in your thinking – go study the Gas Laws

                • Vulture

                  Germany took centuries to recover from the 30 Years’ War – it was the chief reason why she never united as a nation until 1871. And we all know what happened thereafter. As for its declining demographics I refer you to the authority of Manfred Rommel, son of the great General, for former Oberburgermeister of Stuttgart who says: ‘We have the fastest shrinking population in the world/ Since 1972 the death rate has consistently exceeded the birth rate. We’re fading away. And don’t bother learning German because we don’t. Everyone wants to speak English’. It may hurt you to admit it, Tom, but Germany, like the rest of Europe is in steep decline and it will matter less and less. Which, given their bullying and unpleasant nature as a nation, is probably just as well.

                • TomTom

                  Manfred Rommel is an irrelevance: he is 84 years old ! There are more women >40 with children in Germany than men >40 with children simply because German laws favour women over men and make divorce a giant mess… have no idea of the formalism of Duesseldorf Tables and the like. There are huge numbers of German children living in poverty especially in Berlin because taxes are too high. Noone in 1912 predicted Germany would emerge in 1964 richer than Britain or that it would be the pre-eminent European power in 2012 having been divided for 42 years. It is simply funny to quote an 84 year old only son of Hitler’s favoured Wehrmacht Officer who himself had only one child, a daughter. Germany will be a major power in 20 years time even if the OECD think Germany will be irrelevant in 2060 simply because forecasts are drivel. I bet Winston cHurchill never thought he would destroy the British Empire and make Britain a client-state of the USA….but he did…….

    • Dimoto

      Assuming the blog-post has legs (a big assumption), it just shows again what a devious, unreliable creature Merkel is. German sources initially said that Merkel wanted to form a common front with Cameron to obtain an inflation-only budget increase.
      Now she apparently wants to cancel the summit, blaming the failure on Cameron’s unwillingness to move from inflation-only max.
      The EU is a totally unreliable and vindictive negotiating partner. That is the danger of staying in. And the danger of leaving.

      • Vulture

        Good Lord, Dhimmie – you don’t mean to tell us that Dave is seeing the light?

    • viewcode

      “4.7% of our GDP that comes from trade with the E.U.”

      Er, not quite. OK, let’s look at the actual numbers for trade with EU. All figures from the latest Pink Book. on . Trade with the EU27 accounts for:

      * 21% of Trade in services (balances),[16]

      * 36% of Income (credits),[11]

      * 38% or 39% of Trade in services (exports),[6][4][14]

      * 41% of Int’l investment position,[3]

      * 41% of UK liabilities,[1]

      * 43% of Trade in goods (balances),[19]

      * 43% of UK assets,[2]

      * 44% of Current account (credits),[23]

      * 44% of Income (debits),[12]

      * 48% of Current transfers (balances),[10]

      * 49% of Current account (debits),[24]

      * 50% of Current transfers (debits),[9]

      * 50% of Trade in services (imports),[5][7][15]

      * 51% of Trade in goods (imports),[18]

      * 51% of Trade in goods and services (imports),[21]

      * 53% of Current transfers (credits),[8]

      * 53% of Trade in goods (exports),[17]



      [1]: = 4 215 743 / 10 194 064, from table 10.3 Geographical breakdown of International Investment Position: UK liabilities:Balance sheets valued at end of year

      [10]:= Balances -10 699 / -22 216, from table 9.7 Current transfers

      [11]: = Credits 67 697 / 188 668, from table 9.6 Income

      [12]: = Debits 75 566 / 171 535, from table 9.6 Income

      [14]: = Exports 74 777 / 193 659, from table 9.5 Trade in services

      [15]: = Imports 58 899 / 117 279, from table 9.5 Trade in services

      [16]: = Balances 15 878 / 76 380, from table 9.5 Trade in services

      [17]: = Exports 159 024 / 298 987, from table 9.4 Trade in goods

      [18]: = Impor ts 202 479 / 399 330, from table 9.4 Trade in goods

      [19]: = Balances -43 455 / -100 343, from table 9.4 Trade in goods

      [2]: = 4 267 469 / 9 902 660, from table 10.2 Geographical breakdown of International Investment Position: UK assets:Balance sheets valued at end of year

      [20]: = Exports 33 801 / 492 646, from table 9.3 Trade in goods and services

      [21]: = Imports 261 378 / 516 609, from table 9.3 Trade in goods and services

      [23]: = Credits 310 677 / 698 604, from table 9.2 Current account

      [24]: = Debits 356 822 / 727 650, from table 9.2 Current account

      [3]: = 4 215.7 / 10 194.1, from table 10.1 International Investment Position: by type of investment:Balance sheets valued at end of year

      [4]: = Exports 74 777 / 193 659, from table 9.11 Trade in services:By type of service

      [5]: = Imports 58 899 / 117 279, from table 9.11 Trade in services:By type of service

      [6]: = Exports 69 472 / 182 177, from table 9.10 Trade in services:By type of service

      [7]: = Imports 57 554 / 115 170, from table 9.10 Trade in services:By type of service

      [8]: = Credits 9 179 / 17 290, from table 9.7 Current transfers

      [9]: = Debits 19 878 / 39 506, from table 9.7 Current transfers

      • 700islands

        About 10% of the U.K.’s G.D.P. comes from exports. Of that about 47% (It changes every year) goes to the E.U. Roughly that means 4.7% of our G.D.P. derives from trade with the E.U. And this is very important. We go into fits of despair over 0.5% of G.D.P. But lets not have the tail wag the dog.

        • viewcode

          I don’t dispute your calculations: it’s the conclusion I address. Saying 10% of UK GDP comes from exports is not the same as saying 90% of GDP would remain if you removed exports. The Nile only flows thru 10% of Uganda but if you blocked off that 10%, the whole of the Nile would be destroyed.

          The farmer may justifiably boast that his crop is an English export. But the tractor he drove came from a Paris factory owned by a Canadian company (Massey-Ferguson), the fertilizer he sowed came from an Antwerp factory owned by a Russian company (EuroChem), the coltan in his mobile phone came from the Congo, and the people who picked his crop came from Poland. We lose exports, we don’t lose 10% of GDP, we lose more than that.

    • viewcode

      “…We are not little Englanders. We are thinking big. Bigger than the E.U. straitjacket will allow. We want free trade agreements with the Anglosphere, with the Commonwealth. …”

      You’re confusing “thinking” with “fantasising”. A fantasy is when you dream the end but do not initiate the means. To create a free trade area with the Anglosphere or with the Commonwealth would require the agreement with those countries, none of whom you have consulted with and many of whom are either in another free-trade area already (e.g. Canada) or trying to get in another (e.g. Australia). If you want to create another free-trade area then consult those governments, get a memorandum of understanding, get back to me and then I’ll listen to you. But until then you’re inviting me to share in a fantasy with zero basis in reality.

      • afndimrdandi

        Correct. Similarly, many people suggest the UK “join EFTA”. No-one has asked the current EFTA members about their opinion. (One of the EFTA members is Iceland, which we have been giving a hard time lately.)

      • 700islands

        You are right that what I propose has not been officialy asked for, much less negotiated, and it might not work. But you are wrong to say that it has no basis in reality. Quite the contrary. The U.K. is, and has been for quite sometime, the largest single direct foreign investor in the U.S. economy. The U.S. is also the largest single direct foreign investor in the U.K. At the same time the U.K. is the second largest direct foreign investor in both Canada and Australia after the U.S. Certainly our investment in the U.S., Australia and Canada has nothing to do with the E.U.

        But, you may well argue, does U.S. investment in the U.K. depend on us being in the E.U. Well, this is a good point, and to be honest I do not know the break down. But a good portion of foreign direct investment goes into the energy sector, which has nothing to do with the E.U., while another large chunk goes into financial services. But I am sure a good portion goes into industry involved with European trade. The question really is “is our European trade dependent on the E.U.?” That sounds silly at first, until you step back and think that A) we had trade with Europe before the E.U. (i.e. Trade with Germany amounted to over 40% of our exports on the eve of WWI), and, B) other nations, like Canada, manage to trade just fine with Europe from outside the E.U.

        I would say that the fact that the countries I mention have entered or are seeking to enter into free trade treaties with others is evidence of their willingness to do just that.

        It is also worth noting that we already have far reaching treaties with these nations, mostly to do with defence, where we share and integrate on an unpresidented leavel. But also in matters as diverse as science, education and film.

        I agree we must “initiate the means”. But there is a basis in reality upon which to do so.

        • viewcode

          You’re telling me that such deals are possible and desirable: that they can happen and it would be good if they did happen. That’s a valid point, but I wasn’t addressing that.

          My point was that such deals are dependent on the agreement of those other countries, that the agreement of those countries has not been sought (let alone granted) and that those countries are in (or attempting to be in) free-trade areas of their own. So although a deal with them is possible and may even be desirable, there are good reasons to question whether it would happen in reality.

          My remark “If you want to create another free-trade area then consult those governments, get a memorandum of understanding, get back to me” wasn’t a joke: it indicated what would be required. But those memoranda do not exist, those governments have not been contacted, and those governments have not agreed. And that was my point.

        • viewcode

          Sorry, I missed your para in which you said that the other countries’ existing treaties indicated that they *would* enter into an Anglosphere/Commonwealth free-trade area if asked. OK, let’s deal with that point. I can’t help but disagree for at least some of them (Canada wouldn’t, Australia wouldn’t, India probably wouldn’t) although some of them may (New Zealand?) and some of them would instead allow us to enter existing free-trade areas (US, Canada and Mexico would genuinely allow us to join NAFTA, for example).

          But this is speculation on my part, which returns us to my substantive point: this is just guesswork. Until heads of government stand up and say “yes, let’s do it”, it isn’t happening. And (as I said before) those memoranda do not exist, those governments have not been contacted, and those governments have not agreed. Until that happens, it’s legitimate of me to remain dubious.

          • 700islands

            I’ve been thinking about your last four posts (which I respond to here), you make a great many good points and I agree with much of it.

            It seems to me that Britain’s central problem, and what changes the nature of the debate regarding our membership in the EU, is that we have reached a point as a nation where we will go no further. There is debate over how far we have come, with some wanting powers back, but it is almost certain that there will be no more British signatures to any new treaties that hand over any more powers from the UK to the EU. Meanwhile the rest of the EU faces the choice of either breaking the Euro apart, which they will almost certainly not do, or go down the road of closer political and fiscal union (the third choice is to squander Europe’s huge wealth on doing nothing, which appears to be the current favored option. But Britain will be no happier with this as it means we are tied to a block without economic growth). If Europe chooses closer political union Britain will be left on the outside. The implications of this are huge, both to us and to Europe. We will find this an unhappy place to be and we will not be satisfied. Our relationship with Europe will change.

            There are, as you correctly point out, huge problems with this, and many dangers. There are also opportunities. It is possible the Europeans will take our departure, for that is what it will be from their perspective, very badly. I suspect that after the venting of a bit of spite cooler heads will prevail, especially after the heads of all Europe’s businesses who trade with the UK give the politicians a good talking to. And I suspect that Britain too would prefer to keep a free trading relationship with Europe, and might well be willing to pay for the privilege.

            And you may be right that other nations with whom we could seek free trade agreements might well be uninterested. Though with the UK accounting for almost 25% of all foreign direct investment into the USA this past year, and being the largest single investor in the last 7 out of 10 years, I suspect they may be very interested in talking.

            I think we have to be wake to the fact that change is coming regardless of if we want it or not. We would do best to think through the kind of Britain and the kind of world we want and then give it our best shot.

            • viewcode

              Thank you for your considered reply. You may be interested to know I agree with you: things are changing, we are reacting to events rather than shaping them, the UK will probably leave the EU in some fashion, whether technically (a two-speed Europe) or formally (EFTA, EEA or just out totally). Unlike the Eurosceptics’ more florid claims, this will not be an painless victory: unlike the Europhile’s more apocalyptic claims, it will not be a catastrophic defeat. They’ll be upset for a bit, we’ll come to some sort of compromise, there will be costs and benefits, we’ll pick up the pieces and muddle on. In the end, the EU is just a free-trade area with a flag.

              But this feeds into my wider concern – we are becoming (have become?) a member of that most unhailed club, the League Of Nations That Don’t Matter Much Really. We’ll end up selling goods to German and Chinese specifications, sailing the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Oceans to American, Chinese and Indian rules.

              A friend of mine is Indian and he is full of his country’s future: aircraft carriers, a larger standing army, defence against China, new rocket boosters, a manned space program, moonbases. Our ambitions are…to sell things to people. We are in danger of achieving a middle-class view of freedom: the ability to operate freely within the rules set by others. We used to make the weather. Now we make umbrellas.

              So I think you are right in your verdict on how things will happen. But in the end we went into Europe, laid down what we thought was the right thing to do, lost the argument, and left. There was a time when we would have won.

              • 700islands

                Spot on. I share your analysis and conclusion. But think about this. We are always told that Britain went into Europe because we were the sick man of Europe, because we were in decline, because we had lost an Empire and failed to find a roll. I’m sure there is a good deal of truth to this. But I think the history of our entry into what became the EU is far more complex than this.

                It was an American Secretary of state, his name escapes me, who uttered the famous words “Britain has lost an empire and failed to find a roll”. He was wrong. Not about the losing of an empire, though really it was more given away, or let go, there were no tribes sacking Rome. But he was wrong about failing to find a roll. Dead wrong.

                Churchill was among the first to understand the threat the USSR posed to Western civilization after the war. It was Britain that led the effort, along with the US and a lot of their money, to rebuild Europe, not only physically but also in terms of its civic structures – I think you alluded to this in your comment about the ECHR. After the war, with Russia squatting on half of Europe, we wanted the other half to be democratic, free market and just. Today we forget that Spain, Portugal and Greece were dictatorships up until 1975, that 20% of France’s MPs were members of the Communist Party and that the Red Brigade abducted and killed in Italy. Indeed, at that moment in history most of the world, from Eurasia to Africa to South America was under one form of the boot or another. Democracy existed only in the Anglosphere, a smattering of small island states and in the very western fringe of Eurasia. They were dark days.

                But we won. The USSR was defeated (I am not trying to down play the huge American contribution, but we are just talking about us here), Communism fell, eastern Europe was liberated, and democracy spread. Britain was one of the strongest voices in favor of bringing eastern Europe into the EU. But democracy spread beyond Europe. It went global, perhaps with many imperfections, but preferable to what went before. This is a big victory for British foreign policy and the EU was the fulcrum of that policy. So I do not agree that the UK failed to make the weather in Europe.

                Then there is trade. Again, back in the 70’s there were trade barriers everywhere, high tariffs, nationalized industry, protectionism, etc. Britain has always been a free trading nation, and at the time we enjoyed what was left of Imperial Preference, which was really a customs union much as the EU is now. Switching to focus on Europe was key, not only to opening up the largest and closest markets, but also to bolstering our struggle with the USSR economically. To start with we tried to do this through EFTA, which was Britain’s creation. But EFTA’s downside, at least then, was that it did not have a political angle. We needed a political side to help tie the nations we traded with into the Western Alliance. I think that these two considerations, free trade and the Cold War are at the heart of why we joined the EU.

                Again, free trade has been a (qualified?) success. Just as democracy spread world wide after the fall of the USSR, so has free trade. Barriers have fallen everywhere. This is a victory for Britain too.

                The irony is that, from this perspective, Britain, the most unhappy of all of the EU members, is actually the one who has used the EU most to shape not only Europe but the world. Our European strategy has been a great success. Indeed, its a triumph that has helped many people.

                We have made the weather. But the old storms are over. We now find ourselves without a roll. We have achieved what we wanted to achieve and have no more interest in the tools we used. With democracy now established (is it?) in Europe we no longer feel the need to sacrifice our own independence in order to secure theirs. With free trade now the norm around the globe we no longer feel the need to be tied to a customs union that limits our ability to trade and erects barriers against others. We are done.

                Perhaps, like the Hobbit, we want nothing more than to go back quietly to our shires. And that is not an unattractive proposition. But it is not really who we are. We are a global people and must have global reach. Perhaps it is in selling umbrellas, or cars, or widgets, or whatever. Perhaps we do not have the grand flag-stamped Government programs to build rockets and so forth. But my reading of our history suggests that Britain traded its way to world power. The trader went out first, not the navy. The navy was built because the traders kept getting into trouble. In other words it was a practical tool rather than a symbol.

                And we are not so badly off as you suggest; there is hardly a satellite in space that does not have British built components in it, the new Astute sub is simply the world’s best and so is its sonar. There are many examples of areas where Britain leads, and we remain one of the world’s powers.

                You are right that we have come to the end of something. But it is not a defeat, it is a victory. We should declare victory in Europe and move on. Where to? Well, that’s going to be fun…

                • viewcode

                  Due to time constraints I unfortunately cannot pursue this discussion to its natural end. There are things we disagree on, and things we agree on. And although I will continue to disagree on some of your points, I would like to thank you for the discussion, which I found interesting and informative.

    • viewcode

      “…We want to go where the growth is and trade more with India, China and Brazil. …”

      So go do it, nobody is stopping you. You want to sell stuff in India, China and Brazil, then go to India, China and Brazil and sell stuff. Leaving the EU is not necessary for you to do this.

      • 700islands

        Well, up to a point, we are trading with these other nations. Trade with all these places is up considerably. But I am afraid we are being stopped from going further. Britain has given up its power to negotiate trade agreements on its own behalf. The E.U. is in charge of making trade treaties with nations beyond the customs union now. Further, the U.K. has given up its vote at the World Trade Organization to the E.U., the body that increasingly governs international trade (and which increasingly makes our membership in the E.U. less worthwhile as the WTO provides many of the advantages we are looking for in the E.U. but on a global scale). Britain cannot negotiate a free trade deal with India, China, the U.S. or any other nation as matters currently stand. So if that is something we want to do, and I think it is, then we need to first renegotiate our membership with the E.U., and should we fail to reach an amicable outcome in those negotiations, then we must leave.

        • viewcode

          Leaving aside the fact that UK can cheat and do its own free-trade deal if it really wants to (Bahrain did exactly this when it signed the United States-Bahrain Free Trade Agreement, aka USBFTA, against the GCC), the question is would the UK get a better deal with its own free-trade agreements. The EU is updating its free-trade deal with Mexico, finalising new ones this year with Canada, Columbia, Peru et al, and will be starting on the biggie (the USA) early 2013, with both the EU and US determined to reach an agreement quickly. So it’s difficult to see the UK matching it, given the reality of EU negotiators in place on the ground and working with bigger heft. And, if the UK cannot achieve better (or even equal) free-trade terms in its own right, then it’s legitimate to question the wisdom of doing so.

    • viewcode

      “…And if the E.U. imposes tariffs on our goods the cost of this can be more than off set by removing unwanted E.U. regulation. That is the measure of how uncompetitive the E.U. has become: it would cost this nation less to trade with the E.U. from outside while paying all the tariffs then it does being on the inside, not paying tariffs but paying for the cost of regulation….”

      Hmmm. Leaving aside the question on how big is the cost of EU regulation is (I’ve understand Congdon says “a hundred billion pa” which is, to be polite, fictional on an Austin Powers level), you’re assuming that all regulation achieved via EU is a) unwanted, b) imposed against our wishes and b) would vanish if we left the EU. Unfortunately, some of it was wanted, some of it was imposed by the UK via the EU, and none of it would automatically vanish if we left the EU.

  • HooksLaw

    Well if to take the opposite side of the budget debate, ie there MUST be an increase, then we might as well take the same attitude and not bother with a meeting. just raise the budget.
    Clearly preposterous.

    The whole point of a meeting is to discuss and clarify and decide future action. It would be absurd for one party to call it off because they refused to accept the position of the other.
    indeed this point rather shows up the stupidity of labour and tory rebels demanding ‘no surrender’ and a cut to the budget.

    • Dimoto

      Merkel knows that if Cameron vetoes, they will revert to annual budgets, which will cost Germany (and us), much more.
      Merkel may have been explaining to Cameron that the Commission and their ravenous ‘new member’ allies actually hold all the trumps.

      • br14

        The Commission wants a lot more than the 2% they’d get if the budgets roll forward. So the veto saves money for both the UK and Germany. More than would be paid without the veto – since there’s no way the states that are net beneficiaries are going to vote for a freeze. And there’s more of them.

        • Martin Keegan

          Annual automatic budgets are going to be seen as taxation without representation, which is exactly where I want the EU to be 🙂

          • Dimoto

            If you two gents are correct, and I think you are, this will eventually lead to a major redividing of the cake (i.e. agricultural support).

  • 2trueblue

    Whatever happened to the reform of the CAP which was promised when Blair gave back part of our rebate that Thatcher fought so hard to get? This is a business arrangement and frankly we are being asked to carry the can at a time when we are cutting back at home. Everyone knows that you first create stability at home before helping others. They can not be serious.

  • @PhilKean1

    I choked on my cornflakes on Wednesday

    – when Cameron, speaking on a TV interview, urged the EU and USA to conclude a trade deal.

    I mean, he maybe no poker player, but surely he must realise that talking so enthusiastically about an EU / USA trade deal, when he should – at the very least – have been making it clear that Britain may have to negotiate separate trade deals if he doesn’t manage to get a satisfactory renegotiation of Britain’s membership of the EU – is surely the height of incompetence.

    But, then again, if we take a suspicious view of Cameron’s statement, as I do, one might just conclude that there was a Freudian element to Cameron’s statement; in that he can only ever see Britain remaining in the EU, and so plans for and speaks accordingly.

    • HooksLaw

      Cameron is simply restating an ongoing policy.

      The USA does not negotiate trade deals out of altruism and sadly once such a deal is concluded it would make it even more pointless to leave the EU.
      This does not mean of course that the EU should stay as it is and certainly when the 17 member eurozone mob conclude some sort of USE treaty we will have to renegotiate are relationship with them.

      • TomTom

        The US should pay for Europe’s Welfare State……is that the idea ?

        • HooksLaw

          I think the idea from the EU’s point of view is they want to tender for all the stimulus money and state funded aid packages that the USA throw around.
          America cannot afford its own welfare state.

    • TomTom

      This is Westerwelle’s Policy not Camerons

    • barbie

      Is our remaining in the EU all down to Cameron? I don’t think so. He’s in a precarious position within his own party, with about 82 rebels on his back, plus many grandees worried about his stance. He may find himself out if he’s not careful. He now as to demonstrate his skills for Britain, we will see if his education was worth it, I hope it was. If not, if he fails, his party will be divided for the rest of this parliament. Clegg will try and fill the gap, and then God help us all.

  • Robert_Eve

    I’ll settle for an out/out referendum.

    • telemachus

      So what do you get?
      A vote to withdraw.
      Do you not then think that the city, commerce, the internationally minded unions and a majority of MP’s then will not bring all you isolationists back to reality
      There is as much chance of MP’s voting to pull out as Rangers winning the SPL.
      There is far too much pandering to the mad bulging eyes Farage and his Reckless friends at Westminster.
      Let us here some constructive proposals as to how to move our country forward in the context of its destiny in Christendom.

      • Robert_Eve

        I’m not the slightest bit interested in unions or football.

        • telemachus

          Well Get You

      • barbie

        What we will get is the right to choose, and that’s democracy in motion. Many haven’t had the right to vote. I believe the way the EU has developed as been wrong, its become dictatorial, making far to many laws, and trying to create a United States of Europe without consent of the people it thinks it should rule. We in the UK won’t accept that, we make our own laws, our own mistakes, and we elect whom we think we should have to rule us not others. Simple.

      • Austin Barry

        “.. destiny in Christianity.”

        Eh? Tell me how that’s consistent with the EU wish list that Turkey and the Mahgreb countries join the mad community?

        • telemachus

          The history of the last 2000 years is the bonding together of a people in shared faith and values.
          France knows that well and will always veto Turkey.

    • Austin Barry

      Actually, I’d settle for a sentient, sensible Government which just said the EU is an anti-democratic waste of time, money and psychic energy and we should just leave.

  • In2minds

    “the European rumour mill” – no facts then? .

  • TomTom

    France and Italy are taking a tilt at Britain’s Rebate of 3.6 billion Euros but apparently the formula gives Germany a rebate of 1.5 billion Euros and the Netherlands 1 billion Euros so it might be interesting to see France + Club Med split the EU along Donor and Debtor lines. The naked truth of the EU structure becomes ever more absurd that France thought it could hold Northern Europe in thralldom to Agribusiness in perpetuity – it looks increasingly absurd. Britain will hardly have a problem when Austria, Finland, Netherlands, Sweden and Germany all benefit from Thatcher’s Rebate.

    • dalai guevara

      If this was a national tax issue, people would be calling for a simpler and fairer tax system by now.

    • 2trueblue

      And Merkel has a problem understanding why we might want to leave?

      • TomTom

        Not at all, she is playing France by suggesting TOTAL INTEGRATION with German budgetary control so France revolts….she simply needs Britain to play the game. Merkel is no visionary but a superb tactician.

        • TomTom

          Schauble has just called for an investigation of the Frech economy and why it is so incapable of reform…….France is headed for oblivion in the New Europe

          • HooksLaw

            Socialist France is heading into a giant hole, or is the current idiom a ‘cliff’.
            Germany is paying everybody’s bills – and a single currency means central control. Thats their problem not ours. Our issue is to get the best deal for ourselves when they all club together in a new closer union treaty.
            Spouting OUT OUT OUT is not a good tactic.

            • Dimoto

              Hmmm, but I notice that the more the chattering classes ramp up the talk about the “French crisis”, the more the CAC40 rises !
              Middle classes desperately buying shares of state owned companies or what ? Anyone ?

              According to Spiegel, Hollande says he will veto if there is any threat to “agricultural support spending”. Must be why Merkel has suddenly backed off from her previous budget hard-line.
              Germany will always defer to France to keep their pet project afloat.
              Germany and their dreamy romanticism eh, it’ll be the death of Europe !