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.