Coffee House

EU Budget: Cameron shows off his strong negotiating hand

11 February 2013

4:47 PM

11 February 2013

4:47 PM

David Cameron could barely contain himself when he addressed MPs on his victory in last week’s EU budget talks. ‘I didn’t quite get a thank you!’ he jeered at Ed Miliband once the Labour leader had finished his response. ‘But I will give him a thank you for the non-thank you.’ He also mocked Ed Balls for saying ‘hear, hear’ when the PM mentioned the need for spending constraint in the EU as so many of its member states struggled with austerity measures. Obligingly, Balls then cheered ‘hear, hear’ as often as he could, and continued to do so when his own leader started talking.

For Ed Miliband, this was an opportunity to try to steal back some of the limelight: after all, it was Labour’s backing that made the Pritchard/Reckless amendment calling for a cut rather than just a freeze so powerful. But the Prime Minister batted this off, pointing not only to the rebate, but also the party’s lack of a referendum policy. He paired the latter with Ed Miliband’s warning about the UK being isolated in Europe: ‘We were told that we were going to be marginalised, we were going to be isolated.’ he said. For Cameron, the outcome of this summit is more than just the money saved for Britain: it shows that the dire warnings about a renegotiation are unmerited.

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But it was interesting that Cameron suggested to Bernard Jenkin that the EU Budget vote, which caused so much trouble at the time, had strengthened his hand in the negotiations. Here’s the exchange:

Jenkin: May I join the many voices of congratulation to my right honourable friend, may I say how much I am enjoying this statement. Not only because it is a good deal for the British taxpayer that he’s brought back, but it was a good day for the British parliament, for this House that voted for a cut and he delivered it

Cameron: I think my honourable friend is absolutely right, it is important that other European leaders recognise when we sit around that table, we don’t just listen to the European parliament, which has its legitimate views, but we listen to our own parliaments and that goes for the British Parliament, but also the German, Swedish, Dutch and Danish parliaments, all the parliaments of the net contributors have to be listened to.

There are two lessons from this. One is that Conservative whips might not feel the need to panic quite so much about backbench ‘rebellions’: the two major Tory revolts on Europe in this Parliament have both called for policies which the party then adopted on an EU referendum and a cut to the EU budget. By that same token, backbenchers will be encouraged to continue to use Commons debates and votes to push their to move closer to their own position on European matters in future.

Meanwhile, Cameron may be asking for a ‘thank you’ from Miliband today as he speaks about his achievement in Brussels, but his jubilation may fade within the next few weeks if leftist MEPs in the European Parliament get their way on vetoing the budget in a secret ballot.

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Show comments
  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100005168711535 Christopher White

    CONTROL (NATION-STATE) > INFLUENCE (SUPRANATIONAL)

  • HooksLaw

    Cameron’s negotiating hand does not really depend on parliament.
    It depends on the reality of a referendum following the next EU treaty which will inevitably mean a new relationship with the EU.

    That referendum will I think be passed if the terms are sensible and all parties support it.
    if the Conservatives do not support it – then it might fail.
    I think the govt (if its a tory one) will be in a good position to get good terms.

    The irony is of course that (especially with some new terms on offer) it will not make any great practical difference if we are in the EU or the EEA.

  • The_Missing_Think

    The whole argument being presented as a ‘victory’, entirely – 100% – hinges around the absolute rock solid truth, that the electorate vote for their British MPs, to specifically put the interests and requirements of 26 other European countries first and foremost….

    That’s why MPs campaign so hard on this point at election times, they just know that the electorate will not settle for anything better than being 27th in the que.

    It would be so unbearably anti-1960s, really unbeautiful to be 26th, there’s a word for it.

    That’s why an increase of 6 percent in British EU contributions, is a ‘cut’. It’s the the same type of ‘cut’ viewed within Govt spending graphs. Up, is the new down.

    And don’t forget, the first primary duty of any Govt is the non-protection of its people, including economically.
    _____

    The beautiful voters are reaping beautiful representation.

    • HooksLaw

      The EU budget is cut. Our contributions were going up anyway thanks to the actions of a Labour party given a cosy majority by the people.

      • The_Missing_Think

        I did not state that the EU budget hasn’t been cut. (strawman BS).

        This site, and all the other British political sites, they’re just page after page of detailed analysis of the political problems from all the other countries of the world, and not 90 percent focused on British politics…?

        And that’s why the other 26 EU members’ budget needs are prioritized above ours, because we always put other country’s needs above ours, hence the thousands of web pages confirming this point.

        Go right off away.

        And if the budget can be cut for the first time in 56 years, then obviously, the sky’s the limit.

        Be brave soldier… think big.

  • Russell

    It doesn’t matter how Miliband/Balls or Isobel tries to spin this (and she is trying very hard), Labour were clearly shouting that Cameron was isolated and couldn’t possibly get a reduction in the EU budget (that is the only reason Miliband & Labour supported a cut) and that Camerons EU referendum speech would weaken his discussions wrt the EU budget.
    Miliband looked and sounded pathetic.

    • realfish

      Labour in the Commons voted for a cut, but in the EU Parliament it looks as though they’re going to vote against. You couldn’t make it up!

      • David Lindsay

        The Tories split between the two all the time, and have been doing for donkey’s years. People think that Hannan is a normal Tory MEP. He is not.

  • David Lindsay

    It was a catastrophe. The Budget is going down, the British contribution is going up. Bring on a Commons vote.

    • Russell

      The only reason the UK contribution might go up is due to Blair/Labour giving away half of the UK rebate. The labour party shpould be asked to pay any additional payments the UK has to make.

      • David Lindsay

        Bring on a Commons vote.

        • Russell

          Instead, drag Blair and Brown in front of a commons committee to answer for their generosity with UK taxpayers cash when they gave up such a huge part of the UK rebate, and televise proceedings during peak viewing times on all tv channels so that the electorate can see for themselves what labour did, instead of the spin pushed out by labour trolls, the BBC and labour supporting newspapers and even journalists.here. .

          • David Lindsay

            Bring on a Commons vote.

  • Boudicca_Icenii

    Cameron negotiated a miniscule reduction in the EU Budget – but UK contributions will still rise by 6%. That means we will be contributing approximately £56 million every single day for the next 7 years.
    And this is supposed to be a triumph! I’d hate to see what failure looks like.
    A triumph would be if the UK withdrew from the EU and left the other countries to fund it themselves whilst we use the £56 million a day we would retain to repair our own economy and infrastructure, instead of subsidising the rest of Europe.

    • HooksLaw

      The EU budget has been cut and the UK contribution is less than it would otherwise be. You can thank labour for the give away of our rebate which is the reason for the level of our contributions.

      Oh dear me – you cannot thank Europhile labour can you. You must always ignore the fact that support from UKIP makes a Labour govt a europhile labour govt more likely.

      I have seen startled ostriches with a better sense of direction than you.

      PS
      in terms of our national income and population we are not subsidising europe.

      • Boudicca_Icenii

        It was the Conservtive Party that lied and deceived the electorate in order to get us IN the EEC/EU. Since then, LibLabCON are jointly responsible for the situation we now find ourselves in: paying out a fortune and unable to govern our own country They all serve the Establishment and the EU – not the British people.
        As Galloway said, they’re three cheeks of the same ar$e.

  • realfish

    While congratulating Cameron, Ed Muddleband refused to say which way Labour MEPs would vote on the budget in the European parliament.

    At first; no answer to Cameron’s question, just like a little schoolboy caught talking in class, nothing but embarrassment and silence from him. Then, ‘No,’ they wouldn’t vote in favour of the budget cut, then finally it seems that our hero cannot impose himself on his MEPs.

    Can anyone watching this seriously believe that Miliband and Labour have got what it takes to be our future government?
    I look forward to Newsnight taking Miliband apart tonight.

    • Russell

      You will have a long wait! The BBC will try and distort Camerons successful result in the EU budget negotiations in the same way that the resident labour journalist Isobel does on here.

      • David Lindsay

        If this is a success, then what would a failure look like?

        Keep reading it over until it sinks in: “The Budget is going down, the British contribution is going up.”

        Bring on a Commons vote.

        • Russell

          WE know what a failure looks like, we had a UK government failing in every way possible with regard to the EU….Labour.
          We do not get any rebate on EU payments made to ‘new’ EU entrants, and increases to those countries have to be borne by all contributors. Send all thanks to Tony Blair & Labour.

          • http://www.facebook.com/barbara.stevens.790 Barbara Stevens

            They all have been a failure, who as been successful over the last 40 years? This lot are no good, get the new mantra. ‘STOP THE ROT, DUMP THE LOT, VOTE UKIP.

            • David Lindsay

              It only has one member, and he is not standing at Eastleigh.

            • Russell

              I will only support UKIP after over 40 years supporting and voting Conservative. Getting out of the EU is the number 1 thing for me now, with the £billions we pay in and the £billions wasted in the EU, our membership of this chaotic jobsworthy’s club should not be allowed to continue.
              I don’t even care if it allows in a LibDem MP (in my constituency) or a labour government anymore. I will vote for what I believe in most.

            • realfish

              Dump the lot? and get what?

          • David Lindsay

            Bring on a Commons vote.

        • HooksLaw

          A failure looks like Blair giving away our rebate.
          A failure is labour breaking their promise on a referendum.
          Absurdity is Brown showing up a day late to sign the Lisbon Treaty in secret.

          • David Lindsay

            Bring on a Commons vote.

            Come on, what are you afraid of?

            • the viceroy’s gin

              Nothing.

              Your Millipedal buddies will join their Cameroonian clones and vote it up, just like they did with homosexual marriage.

              Ya’ muppet.

              • David Lindsay

                They didn’t vote for it last time. Every single one of them voted for a real terms cut, the exact opposite of what Cameron has brought home. The number of Conservative rebels was smaller than the number of Lib Dem MPs. Let’s see how many there are now.

                • the viceroy’s gin

                  You saw how many, the other day, when homosexual marriage sailed through, thanks to your hard Left buddies the Millipedes, and their Cameroon soulmates.

                  They all agree, the clones, even if you can’t see it.

                  Ya’ muppet.

                • David Lindsay

                  More Conservative MPs didn’t vote against that than did. After all, theirs had been the only manifesto to have promised to consider it. The other two hadn’t mentioned it at all. It had simply not been on either the Labour or the Lib Dem agenda. Whereas it was on the Tories’. (Nigel Farage was also in favour of it in those prehistoric days of 2010.)

                  Although I don’t see what that has to do with this. Or are you of the particularly barking mad “Gay Marriage Is An EU Plot” persuasion? If so, then stop trying to let Cameron off the hook. And see here – http://davidaslindsay.blogspot.co.uk/2013/02/not-holy-not-roman-not-even-much-of.html

                • David Lindsay

                  Oh, and as for the Hard Left, two of the most left-wing members even of the Socialist Campaign Group, figures unimaginable in the politics of your own country and who would be in the Communist Party or one of its successors if they were on the Continent, voted against same-sex “marriage”. At least one, arguably the more left-wing of the two, is a devout Catholic. Of course. You either get that, or just don’t get Britain.

                • the viceroy’s gin

                  There’s 2 more useless posts to skip.

                  Your hard Left buddies are in love with homosexual marriage, and voted that way, just like they will be voting for the EU coronation, same as their Cameroonian soulmates, in both cases.

                  And the only one who doesn’t understand all this is you, apparently.

                  Ya’ muppet.

                • David Lindsay

                  That answers that one, then. You just don’t get Britain. As we already knew. You no longer get America, either. Which is sad for you, I suppose. But you can’t have long left, so you don’t have to put up with it for much longer. In that sense, if in none other, Tories (and UKIP supporters) really are like Republicans.

                • the viceroy’s gin

                  I’m typing too much too, I guess. I’ll try to shorten it up.

                  Your lefty buddies are clones of the Cameroons. All love homosexual marriage and the EU.

                  You don’t get that.

                  Ya’ muppet.

        • Nicholas chuzzlewit

          OK everybody, for the benefit of the increasingly hysterical Mr Lindsay, I will explain. In 2005 Tony Blair, the Labour Prime Minister, surrendered part of Britain’s budget rebate in exchange for reformation of the Common Agricultural policy at a future date to be determined. Unsurprisingly, Britain’s concession was duly pocketed by the EU and the CAP remains, to this day, unreformed. Britain’s contribution will thus rise because of an amateurish negotiating stance taken by a man desperate to prove his good european credentials. Cameron could quite reasonably argue that while Britain’s contribution will rise it will at least rise slightly less sharply as a result of the overall budget cut negotiated last week.Not a great achievement by any means but a better performance than the supine grinning Mr Blair achieved in 2005. Now then Mr Lindsay “keep reading it over until it sinks in”.

          • David Lindsay

            You’ll have to do better than that. And the rebate was only ever the Mad Woman’s way of conning her braindead supporters into forgetting about the Single European Act, an act of political integration which could never subsequently be equalled.

            • Nicholas chuzzlewit

              Sadly, I have only facts and an honest disposition to work with. I do not enjoy your powers of self-delusion and loathing of opinions that do not coincide with your own.

  • 2trueblue

    And so he should. Liebore have spent years giving our money to the EU, at least Cameron is stating the obvious, we are not going to keep doling it out on their terms.

  • George_Arseborne

    The childish Cameron was going for a freeze EU budget , behold Ed Milliband’s Labour and Tory backbenchers forced him to go for a cut. What an utter rubbish asking for ” Thank you” . He is a joje

    • Fergus Pickering

      A what? Funny language you speak.

    • Russell

      Milibands ‘sucess’ at defeating Cameron in a commons vote has really backfired. Miliband never for a minute believed Cameron could get a cut in the EU budget.

    • Colonel Mustard

      Hello Mr Al Fayed:-

      “What an utter rubbish asking for. Thank you” Beautifully put. Reminds me of Cairo in the fifties. Got any postcards?

      And what’s a “joje”?

  • UlyssesReturns

    Paradoxically, if the European Parliament vetoes the budget, it will further strengthen Cameron’s hand, both in terms of the budget but also for any renegotiation – who governs? It will not only infuriate the British if the budget is overruled.

    • s_o_b

      You may be right, but when Heath asked ‘who governs’ the message he got back was ‘not you!’

      • rollahardsix

        Depends on you point of view – he won more votes than Labour in February ’74 😉

      • HooksLaw

        A general election is not going to be fought on that basis. A referendum might.
        An EU parliament veto would still be met by a UK veto and the EU budget planning thrown into confusion. This does nobody any good and only exposes opportunistic lefty MEP leaders for what they are.

    • David Lindsay

      Roll on a Commons vote on Cameron’s catastrophic EU Budget deal, which sees the British contribution go up even while the Budget itself goes down, entirely without precedent. As for which way Labour MEPs are going to vote, which way are Conservative MEPs going to vote? People think that Daniel Hannan is a typical example. He is not. He is not even remotely.

      The House of Commons has to vote on and in the best interests of the United Kingdom, while the European Parliament has to vote on and in the best interests of the European Union. In principle, it could, can and sometimes does make perfect sense for the same individual, never mind the same party, to vote one way at Westminster and another, even the opposite, way at Strasbourg.

      But this is no time for such niceties. Forget a secret ballot. It is highly improbable. With Labour universally expected to clean up at the 2014 European Elections, much effort is being made to secure nominations for loyalist MPs who lost their seats in 2010, and the fact of having voting against a reduction in the overall EU Budget would be ideal grounds on which to remove a sitting MEP in that cause.

      The present European Parliamentary Labour Party is as much a fortress of the
      Blairite Resistance as is the Labour Party’s paid staff, especially in London, though also elsewhere. But Blair once purged about three quarters of Labour MEPs in one go. It can be done.

  • telemachus

    Short lived retrenchment against UKIP may help Eatleigh but will be long forgotten in 2015

    • David Lindsay

      UKIP isn’t even bothering to put up its only member at Eastleigh.

      • telemachus

        Oh yes they are
        And Guido has already dug up dirt

        • David Lindsay

          Guido? Does that still exist? I really do only ask.

          • telemachus

            It remains a hoot

            • Colonel Mustard

              Do you troll there as well? Which of your many identities do you use?

              • telemachus

                We use means as available to promote reasonableness

                • Colonel Mustard

                  But you are not promoting “reasonableness”, you are promoting a specific political ideology. Why do you communists always have to hijack words to mean what they don’t? You promote STATE-IMPOSED SOCIALISM. The question of whether that is reasonable is infinitely debatable. In the 2010 General Election Labour won 29% of the votes whilst the Conservatives won 36%. So you are in a minority. So stop using “we”. You do not represent the British people and you CERTAINLY do not represent the English.

                  Your opinions are fair enough. But stop commenting as though you represent the public will. That is both arrogant and slightly deranged.

            • David Lindsay

              Paul Staines is now a columnist on the Murdoch-owned bestselling newspaper in the country. How very anti-Establishment.

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