Coffee House

Cameron’s slow mission to convince sceptics at home and in Europe

28 March 2014

8:55 AM

28 March 2014

8:55 AM

Today’s joint FT article by George Osborne and Wolfgang Schäuble is yet another exhibit for David Cameron to wave at critics of his EU policy. While Nigel Farage and Nick Clegg fight over In or Out with no chance of leading the government that presents that choice to the British people (read Fraser’s Telegraph column on this), David Cameron can say that he is inching closer to winning debates, point by point, with European leaders. Today’s article contains the important acceptance that non-eurozone countries should be protected rather than disadvantaged by treaty change:

‘A stable euro is good for the global economy, and especially for Europe. The crisis has shown that the eurozone needs a common fiscal and economic policy with corresponding improved governance. The UK fully recognises the progress made so far in responding to the crisis, and it supports the case for further steps forward. But as the euro area continues to integrate, it is important that countries outside the euro area are not at a systematic disadvantage in the EU. So future EU reform and treaty change must include reform of the governance framework to put euro area integration on a sound legal basis, and guarantee fairness for those EU countries inside the single market but outside the single currency.’

Of course, it’s easier to persuade Germany than it is other European leaders. But as our cover piece recently set out, Cameron has more than just Germany on his side when it comes to making the case for change in Europe.

Cameron also needs to make the case to his own party that he really can reform the European Union while plugging away at making the case in Europe too. He’s lucky at the moment that backbenchers are quite well-occupied watching the Labour party become increasingly gory, but over the next few months his own group of sceptics at home will take up more of his time than those sceptics on the continent that he needs to win over.


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Show comments
  • Conway

    Cameron also needs to make the case to his own party that he really can
    reform the European Union while plugging away at making the case in
    Europe too.
    ” Meanwhile, those of us who know about acquis communautaire and the need for any changes to be agreed by all member states, know that Cameron has less chance of getting reform than a snowball has of surviving in Hades. What bit of “you can’t cherry pick” does he think we don’t understand?

  • andagain

    Cameron also needs to make the case to his own party that he really can
    reform the European Union while plugging away at making the case in
    Europe too.

    If they operate on the principle that being anti-europe is a virtue, they will always compete to be more anti-EU than each other. He could nuke Brussels tomorrow morning, and they would still say that wasn’t enough.

    • Hexhamgeezer

      It wouldn’t be enough. What about Strasbourg?

      • Denis_Cooper

        And Luxembourg where the ECJ sits.

  • Smithersjones2013

    What is clear now is Cameron’s flirtations with Euroscepticism were nothing more than brazen lies. Why on earth would we wish to further be lied to?

    • andagain

      A sceptic is someone who has doubts. There is no such group as “Eurosceptics”. There are only Europhiles and Europhobes.

      What you mean is: he doesn’t hate enough. However much he hated, you could always demand more.

      • Smithersjones2013

        [Yawn] Why did you waste your time writing that specious piece of drivel, you pompous little twerp?

        • andagain

          If you are trying to make the point that you and Camerons other anti-EU critics are motivated by something other than self-righteous hatred, you are making it very badly.

  • Denis_Cooper

    “So future EU reform and treaty change must include reform of the governance framework to put euro area integration on a sound legal basis, and guarantee fairness for those EU countries inside the single market but outside the single currency.”

    With the passage of time the number of “EU countries inside the single market but outside the single currency” will trend towards zero.

    It has to, because all but two of the present EU countries outside the euro are under a treaty obligation to join it when they can, and that same legal obligation is imposed on all new countries as a condition for being allowed to join the EU, and once a country has joined the euro it cannot leave the euro without leaving the EU.

    So it will be “fairness” for a diminishing number of countries; eventually it could be just one, the UK, because most of the Danish political class want to give up Denmark’s opt-out and join the euro; and then it could be zero because a future UK government of whichever party or parties declared that our “isolated” position was no longer tenable and bounced us in as well, and not necessarily after a referendum.

  • Wessex Man

    I was going to join the conversation but having read down the comments, can’t be bothered to, as the two local lunatics and you don’t even need to say who they are nowadays are chocking any reasoned sensible converation with their blind gibberish.

    • telemachus

      Heed

  • http://batman-news.com The Commentator

    Lets face it: the Tories are not going to win more seats in 2015 than they did in 2010. Labour will definitely win back some seats in 2015 that it lost in 2010. UKIP in 2015 will definitely attract more than the 3% of voters they secured in 2010. Clegg and his Euro-rabble will probably not do as bad as everyone is predicting. So post election 2015 not much will change: there won’t be a re-negotiation with Europe (but then there never was going to be one), there won’t be a referendum and there could well be a sovereign debt crisis in both the UK and the EU. Because we can’t stop SPENDING!

  • James Allen

    Isabel – I like you, I really do, I think you’re lovely and you always try to strike the right balance. But I’m afraid your judgement is letting you down here…. the idea that the European Union is going to allow Britain to reclaim sovereignty over its borders, judiciary, energy policy, fisheries, agriculture, criminal justice etc. is just plain madness. We know it can’t be done and we know Cameron and Osborne et al. are simply drip-feeding pro-reform stories to the Press to try to give the impression that change is possible. It won’t wash. We’re not that stupid. We don’t fall for the spin – look at the Tories voting share at the last election. There’s only one way for Cameron to go…. and that’s down.

    • HookesLaw

      Then you can vote no in the referendum.

      • James Allen

        What referendum? Ain’t gonna be a referendum with a Tory-Lib or Lab-Lib coalition…

  • anyfool

    Cameron can change the EU but he has to have a policy that states what he wants changing, he must state this in no uncertain terms the bits he wants to change now.
    Going into an election promising a referendum on unspecified changes is to vague, no one now believes politicians nowadays.
    He needs to come back with the with the power of the HoC sovereign, one of the reasons there is so much resentment about Europe is that like the European parliament, Westminster is in effect powerless in most cases and when things are passed that the country does not like, the craven creatures in Westminster blame the other Eunuchs that make up the other talking shop in the EU.
    The MPs in Westminster never use the only real power they have, it is a very simple power, just say no, no that law will not be enacted and no we will not pay any fine, then the house of cards that is the EU will collapse, you do not even need a referendum for that.

    • telemachus

      Your post is based on a false premise
      Miliband will do the definitive negotiation in our interests
      Rather than in the interests of the moustache toting Home Counties Eurosceptic Right

      • Colonel Mustard

        More labels of hate. Try to make your case without reference to silly labels devised from your slithery stalking.

    • HookesLaw

      In any trade agreement or treaty (like NATO, or being in the IMF) there is a loss of sovereignty.
      ‘loss of sovereignty’ with the EU is overstated.
      The issue of the Eurozone is quite different – but of course we are not in the Euro.

    • Conway

      Cameron can change the EU” He could invoke Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty. Highly unlikely, but that’s the only way we’d get renegotiation of terms.

  • Kitty MLB

    I am not too sure the Viking outfit suits our intrepid Prime Minister
    and Angela Merkel should be sitting somewhere with Cameron as a small dog on her lap.
    Europe will never be reformed too many countries need different things-
    and the EU does not do reform ever…its a succubus that suffocated all it encounters.
    Yet if it were reformed , this will mean that smaller southern countries will be dropped
    with a small selection of northern countries following a Germanic agenda.
    Which will trap us as we are a favourite piggy bank, they may throw a few
    doggy biscuits at Cameron but he will be well and truly muzzled and leashed.
    Although at least we have this referendum regardless of it being a somewhat
    figleaf of a promise.

    • telemachus

      You are wrong
      There is a strong financial imperative to reform the Eurozone and for this Merkel needs treaty change
      She will give us most of what we want to facilitate this

      • Kitty MLB

        Do slaves ask for their shackles to be loosened or removed.
        The EU does not represent the people of Europe, its undemocratic
        greedy and incompetent. Why can they not admit their little political
        experiment is a failure and allow us and other countries to take control
        of their own destiny. Merkel probably doesn’t even approve of the referendum that Cameron is offering us.

        • telemachus

          I like your simile but we are mutually participating citizens

          • Colonel Mustard

            No we are not. You are an aspiring apparatchik who wants to control what others think. It’s why you infest this site and tag every top comment with your tripe. You are a control freak and a Stalinist. Nothing mutual about you at all.

    • HookesLaw

      For once telemac is close to the truth in his reply to you.
      I would but it slightly different.

      The Eurozone needs to be reformed and this process is our best chance to get reforms which suit us. What we need is an arrangement which does not scare away inward investment and still gives access to the single market and protects our financial sector.

      If the Eurozone emerges as a strong financial and trading block then its inevitable that we ill be influenced by it – no matter how much the nutjobs howl.

      Where of course tele is wrong is in saying that Miliband is the best person to do this.

      • telemachus

        Miliband comes with no baggage
        He has a united party that can deliver

        • Colonel Mustard

          Tripe. He is a creature of Brown. Tainted and discredited, with a rag bag collection of Brownian has-beens and weirdos eager to believe in the Money Tree, eager to spend and waste other peoples money again on their own puffed up vanity of being holier than anyone else.

        • Kitty MLB

          Milipede has a room full of baggage, backbenchers
          who pull their hair out, a shadow chancellor after blood,
          and unions pulling his tail. He is a recycled page out of Browns failed book. Labour is a deceitful and controlling as ever. Who will never show any remorse,acknowledgement of wrong doing and will never reform. Dictatorships never do.

  • HookesLaw

    The issue of the Euro is a valid one…. and its inevitable that the Eurozone will become closer and be more as one country.
    Most of us might have thought that was unlikely before the Eurocrisis and that the crisis itself would blow the Eurozone apart. Lots of clever people (clever in their own minds) went into print about that. But its not happened they have been proved wrong and we must assume that the Euro and its zone is here to stay. We must also expect that the Euro area will indeed come closer and its people will accept that.

    This means that we will inevitably have to negotiate a different arrangement. If then successful or not to the minds of the then (tory) govt it will be put to a referendum. Under a tory govt the success or failure if these negotiations do not matter – We Will Get A Referendum.
    It seems to me the alternative will be to join the EEA and be semi detached from the central Euro EU. Maybe other non Euro countries will join us.
    But there will be a referendum on it under a Tory govt. And all of us must accept the consequences of say not being in the EU when we vote. We will be between two large currency zones and if not in the EU we will have absolutely no say in how their behaviour might affect us.

    The Nutjobs have to look hard at what might happen if a Europhile Labour party are in power. Will it be as careful about British interests? Would we get a referendum? Miliband has already said ‘no’. Under labour the real likelihood is that we will end up in the Euro itself.

    • telemachus

      Miliband will negotiate from the pragmatic point that the status quo of membership will obtain and Merkelmwill reward us with

      • Kitty MLB

        Miliband cannot negotiate himself out of a jar of pickles,
        70% of people in this country do not see him as PM material
        and I understand his leadership is in crisis. I can just see
        Merkel eating him alive. He cannot even stand up to Balls and the Unions let alone Europe- wake up Telemachus- you are doomed
        I say doomed !!!

        • telemachus

          77% of the British population did not see Thatcher as PM material before 1979

          • Kitty MLB

            I assume you are not tying to compare Milipede to Thatcher-
            how bonkers ! I know he tried calling himself ‘ Iron Ed’
            for a while, but it seemed so stupendous Labour stopped that.

      • HookesLaw

        This means then that Miliband will not negotiate.
        Being ‘pragmatic’ in effect means ‘giving in’.

        • telemachus

          No
          Merkel needs us

    • Conway

      The euro was designed to create a “beneficial crisis” which would make the case for one Treasury, one fiscal policy – in other words, yet another step to the United States of Europe. It was never intended to work for the benefit of the people of Europe.

  • chudsmania

    Excuse me for asking , but who actually runs the EU ? European leaders , or the EU parliament ? It cant be both.

    • AnotherDave

      Neither. The Commission are the government.

      • telemachus

        But they will not determine Treaty change

    • telemachus

      Angela Merkel
      *
      Who likes Cameron

      • James Allen

        Oh dear… oh dear…

    • telemachus

      As Miliband negotiates requisite changes with Merkel, one of the Treaty changes I am sure will be to clarify this
      The upshot may be weighted final say by the Council of Ministers

    • ItinerantView

      “who actually runs the EU”
      Daniel Guéguen, a lobbyist and lecturer at the College of Europe – the preparatory school for the Brussels civil service – believes the European Union has become fundamentally anti-democratic.

      “When Eurosceptics say that the EU has been hijacked by an unaccountable civil service, by the commission desk officers, they are correct, says Guéguen. “The minor European civil servant is the master of the Union”

      http://www.eurallfree.org/?q=node/743

      For a more complete analysis of the opaque system at the heart of the EU ( 98% of EU regulations are decided via comitology);

      http://www.ksap.gov.pl/ksap/file/publikacje/Hijacking_Comitology.pdf

  • toco10

    The crucial decision to be made is in the light of a renegotiation is it in the best interests of the British people to remain within the EU?Forget the rhetoric and let us see what can be achieved before jumping to any conclusions-the British people given the opportunity to vote in a referendum will make the correct choice.

    • telemachus

      And whatever that choice is we will stay in

      • HookesLaw

        Well whatever that choice is a future Labour govt could always take us back in.

        • telemachus

          How so
          We will never leave

          • Kitty MLB

            We will never leave, you believe there is no escape from
            the confines of a dictatorship. Rather like the Labour Party.

            • telemachus

              No not like the Labour Party which is ultimately democratic
              Milibands aim will be to work with Merkel for rules that will facilitate responsiveness to the Labour Government, democratically elected

              • HookesLaw

                You are in more gobbledegook mode than normal.

                • Kitty MLB

                  Labour does that, removes all sense and logic,
                  its a two for one offer they provide with the brainwashing .

                • telemachus

                  Kitty
                  The movement gives considered responses to the needs of the people
                  A refreshing change from the patronising impositions of the coalition

                • Colonel Mustard

                  Absolute rubbish. The Labour party is full of scheming crooks and liars, bolstered by the brain dead seal clapping of muppets like you.

                • telemachus

                  The thread is on the EU
                  I have confidence in Miliband to negotiate to the benefit of the whole nation
                  I would not have that confidence in Cameron

                • Colonel Mustard

                  That’s you. Not everyone. Just your opinion. Not some gospel.

                  Wind your neck in and show some humility. Your hubris and hagiography is tedious.

                • Kitty MLB

                  Even the word ‘ movement’ has a slight sinister touch to it.
                  ‘ patronising impositions’ Coming from Labour..
                  I cannot think of the word to answer that with… dumbfounded !
                  Labour is a danger to every value.
                  Full of liars, cheats , caterwauling fools who shout over every ounce
                  of decency in this country- one they utterly deplore.

                • telemachus

                  Hooky
                  On this we are almost on the same page

              • Colonel Mustard

                “No not like the Labour Party which is ultimately democratic”

                Unmitigated tripe belied not just by the Falkirk shambles and the number of Red Princes being parachuted into safe seats but the staggering arrogance of that Labour wally who recently asserted that people cannot be trusted to spend their own money.

                No surprise that Labour thinks it knows best how to spend other peoples money, shed loads of it to no visible benefit until the country is bankrupted. But the surprising aspect is how so many useful idiots still buy into that folly. In any sane country most of Labour’s grandees would be facing prison time by now.

                • telemachus

                  Son
                  We need to protect folk from frittering away their thousands on frippery
                  We need to recognise that we are all living longer and unless we accelerate immigration the Nationnwill not be able to afford the pensions required

                • HookesLaw

                  Classic socialism. A wonderful advert for not voting Labour.
                  ‘we need to protect folk from….’

                • telemachus

                  Think Hooky of the pressure from children needing large profits to get on the housing ladder
                  Will they repay their parents as they reach their dotage

                • HookesLaw

                  By the time a pension is due children will be on the housing ladder.
                  With the current arrangement of poor returns from Annuities the pressure is already on parent top not bother with pensions and put their money into property.

                  The trouble is you is you want to dictate how people can save. Dictatoreship is what socialists and kippers have in common.

                • Harold Angryperson

                  Ponzi Scheme.

                  Here, a link for you http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ponzi_scheme

                • Colonel Mustard

                  Don’t call me son you impertinent little twerp. And you can take your thinly veiled totalitarian communism and shove it where the sun doesn’t shine. Socialism is a dead ideology, discredited by failure and mutation wherever it has been imposed. And your brand of it, rooted in some rose-tinted nostalgia for some kind of 1930’s soviet motherland is especially repulsive.

                  It is theft and waste by a self-styled elite who think they know best, exactly like you, who comes here and puffs yourself up with presumed but utterly fallacious moral superiority to lecture free people on how they should think and behave. And who, when faced with dissent always resorts to implied coercion by the state you are so eager to suborn.

                  And “Son”? What is that all about? Ask yourself, you poisonous little commissar, why you connive to respond like that? Does it give you a feeling of power to patronise others?

                  God help us all if you represent the mentality of the modern Labour party.

                • telemachus

                  I do
                  And I am not afraid to nail my colours to,the mast
                  And show people the way forward
                  I am no High Sheriff bent on destruction of those with understanding of thevwaynto a better life

                • Colonel Mustard

                  You are a peddler of propaganda, a communist and a Stalinist. Far from nailing your colours to the mast you have scuttled into the Labour party to preach your poison under a false flag. If you were honest you would be in the Communist Party where you belong.

                  You might think you know the way to a better life but you preach tripe. Your party has been at it now for decades and even with a powerful Parliamentary majority and a healthy economy you couldn’t make things better. You made them worse. All your rotten policies and bad law made Britain a worse place to live, full of grievance, envy, sectarianism and warring groups. You invented and invent problems in order to impose “solutions” that have resulted in real problems and you steal freedom, you obstruct choice, you deny the right to decide, you oppress the right to free expression.

                  I oppose those who threaten the liberty and birthright of my countrymen and women.

                • telemachus

                  I do not begin to expect those who see no value in the cohesion of society, those who care not that people in the slums of Glasgow eke out their daily existence in misrery, those who value the comfort of themselves their own and their kind over the greater good, would

                • Colonel Mustard

                  Oh do shut up. You have no idea what I care about. You just trot out your packaged prejudices, presumptions and labels of hate. Get out of the pulpit and try to construct an argument instead of a harangue.

                • telemachus

                  My pulpit has a message
                  What is yours?

                • Colonel Mustard

                  Not to listen to your poisonous sermons or to vote for your poisonous party. To celebrate English liberty and absolute freedom of expression. The right of an individual to live unfettered by multiple tiers of meddling. bureaucratic government. The notion that a government represents its people and serves them rather than sets out to control them or even “nudge” them. Constitutional government of Monarchy, Hereditary Lords and Elected Commons, sovereignty which no foreign prince, prelate or simpering social democrat can usurp. The primacy of the majority and the law abiding. The right to defend hearth and home and a powerful Navy as befits an island nation with a proud maritime history.

                • saffrin

                  We are not living longer.

                • telemachus

                  The stats are against you
                  As the time bomb of longevity continues to explode we need to bring in more and more non UK Nationals to fuel the need for resources to service our non working elderly

                • Colonel Mustard

                  The last time you said it was to rub the right’s nose in diversity.

                • saffrin

                  No, what we need is to bring property prices down to affordable levels so young couples can afford to raise children rather than bolster the profits of the already extremely rich.
                  Basing GDP on property prices is a false economy this country can’t afford to keep.

          • HookesLaw

            If a referendum were to vote to leave the then govt would indeed be in a mess as it would have to pursue a policy it probably did not believe in.
            It would presumably negotiate our relationship from within the EEA, and in truth there would be little noticeable difference.

            No doubt the issue would be complicated if the result was exceptionally narrow, but I think it unlikely that a vote would be to leave – although if an option were put to join the EEA then that might well pass. The point being that there would be little noticeable change.

            A future Labour govt could simply follow EU rules anyway.
            But the issue is the Eurozone and that will inevitably mean we need a different arrangement.

            • telemachus

              Of course and this needs Treaty change
              Hence Miliband will be able to negotiate what we need

              • Colonel Mustard

                Miliband couldn’t negotiate his way out of a brown paper bag. How much longer do we have to put up with your tedium of peddling base mediocrity and guile as some kind of super human charisma?

                • telemachus

                  We do not want super human charisma for this task
                  We need a pragmatic networker
                  Which is of course why Ed is where he is

                • Colonel Mustard

                  Weird Ed, Son of Communist is neither pragmatic nor a networker. He is a socialist extremist in the mould of Foot who, like Brown, defines himself by his grievances and whose only tangible policy is opposition to all other policies.

                • telemachus

                  You well know that Brown generated the wherewithall to improve the health and education of the Nation

                • Colonel Mustard

                  He did no such thing and don’t tell me what I know you silly propagandist. You might like to think you can climb into everyone’s head and pull the levers, God knows it is what your repulsive party aspires to, but that way will only increase the strength and resolve of those who oppose you.

                • Makroon

                  True, but I also hope that none of Cameron’s ‘Etonian clique’ are directly involved in any negotiations – Letwin as lead negotiator ? The mind boggles !

                • telemachus

                  See below
                  Miliband will negotiate

                • Colonel Mustard

                  Don’t get me started on wet Tory grandees of the type who assassinated Thatcher.

              • Hightrees

                Just like Blair (who for all his faults was far better than Milliband is now) was going to negotiate? How did that one go? As far as I recall a large slice of the rebate gone in return for nothing. Same CAP etc. The UK learned over 13 years, you can’t trust Labour on Europe.

                • telemachus

                  But Blair had no Merkel needing to force her fiscal straightjacket on the Eurozone group

                • Makroon

                  Does anyone else have the uneasy feeling that this putative Anglo-German “pact” has echos of Hitler’s suggestion that he would rule Europe and leave Britain to rule it’s global empire ?

                • telemachus

                  But this is underpinned with a moral foundation

                • Kitty MLB

                  Ed Miliband is no Tony Blair, he is not even a Michael
                  Foot for all the political differences at least the latter
                  chap has principles, integrity and represented his voters.

                • telemachus

                  You have to understand in any criticism of Blair that although a reprehensible revisionist he put an end to the destruction of our Society over the 18 years that went before
                  He gave us back national cohesion

                • Colonel Mustard

                  More tripe. He sowed the seeds of division and sectarianism. His government created the devolution that now threatens the break up of the United Kingdom.

                • Mynydd

                  The movement for Scottish Independence pre-dates devolution. Powers have been devolved to Northern Ireland since the formation of ROI. There was a long standing desire for a devolution of some powers from London to Wales. Mr Blair did not force devolution upon any one, and it doesn’t threaten the unity of the UK, and for you to maintain otherwise is pure tripe.

                • Colonel Mustard

                  Stop revising history to benefit your Labour party.

                  The Scottish Parliament was convened by the Scotland Act 1998, a product of New Labour, intended to appease the Scottish nationalists. It has done the opposite. There is a referendum later this year as a result and if the Scots vote ‘Yes’ the United Kingdom will break up.

                  Now go away and peddle your lies elsewhere.

                • Mynydd

                  For your information: the Scottish National Party (SNP) was founded in1934 to campaign for Scottish Independence. It won its first parliamentary seat in 1945 and has had continuous representation at Westminster since 1967. It is therefore not a revision of history, or peddling lies, to state that the movement for Scottish Independence pre-dates devolution.

                • McClane

                  Northern Ireland has no devolved power. It simply retains the powers that the whole of Ireland had before indeoendence e.g. the Royal Irish Constabulary became the Royal Ulster Constabulary &c &c

                • Mynydd

                  I might have missed it, has Mr Cameron been successful in re-negotiating the CAP. One thing I didn’t miss was that Mr Cameron negotiated a reduction in the EU budget and an increase in our payment.

              • Barakzai

                ‘Miliband will be able to negotiate what we need.’
                Doubtless a ‘negotiation’ following the pattern of reforming the Labour Party/Trade Union links. Which was, pour memoire, ‘Of course I’ll do you what you tell me Len, and pretend otherwise to the British public, as usual.’

  • Martin Adamson

    European reform will always fail because the 7 or 8 countries that put the money in will always be outvoted by the 20-odd countries that take money out. Simple as that. It doesn’t matter if we have Germany on our side. Germany will always refuse to use the only weapon – withholding payments – that can possibly work. The German political class (as distinct from the German people) have been every bit as corrupted, prostituted and suborned by the EU bureaucracy as the British political class have.

    • telemachus

      Untrue
      The Germans want Treaty Change and to get that they have to satisfy us

    • HookesLaw

      Take a look at how the votes are weighted.
      Germany France UK Italy Spain Netherlands Belgium and Austria have about 52% of the voting power. The ‘big 4’ have about 41%.
      If out of the EU the UK would have zero.

      • telemachus

        Hooky
        You must come and join us

        • Smithersjones2013

          I thought he had…..

      • atticus1900

        Serious question: how will that work with QMV and the change in voting weight?

      • Smithersjones2013

        Voting weights have been abolished in the Lisbon treaty. It is now based on the number of countries and the proportion of overall population.

        Unless the proposal is backed by the Commission or a High Representative it will require 72% of the countries (21) covering 65% of the population (c 325 million) to get it through the European Council.

        Now that will mean getting any significant reforms through will be virtually impossible (e.g. France will never reform the CAP, Spain will never reform the CFP etc etc).

        PS And if you were referring to the EU Parliament as opposed to the Council then that is about as impotent as Wet Willy EUnuch

    • greggf

      Actually Martin, it’s the taxpayer who’s having their tribute re-distributed, and they may vote contrary to the expectations of the political class.

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