X

Create an account to continue reading.

Registered readers have access to our blogs and a limited number of magazine articles
For unlimited access to The Spectator, subscribe below

Registered readers have access to our blogs and a limited number of magazine articles

Sign in to continue

Already have an account?

What's my subscriber number?

Subscribe now from £1 a week

Online

Unlimited access to The Spectator including the full archive from 1828

Print

Weekly delivery of the magazine

App

Phone & tablet edition of the magazine

Spectator Club

Subscriber-only offers, events and discounts
 
View subscription offers

Already a subscriber?

or

Subscribe now for unlimited access

ALL FROM JUST £1 A WEEK

View subscription offers

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

Thank you for creating an account – Your subscriber number was not recognised though. To link your subscription visit the My Account page

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

X

Login

Don't have an account? Sign up
X

Subscription expired

Your subscription has expired. Please go to My Account to renew it or view subscription offers.

X

Forgot Password

Please check your email

If the email address you entered is associated with a web account on our system, you will receive an email from us with instructions for resetting your password.

If you don't receive this email, please check your junk mail folder.

X

It's time to subscribe.

You've read all your free Spectator magazine articles for this month.

Subscribe now for unlimited access – from just £1 a week

You've read all your free Spectator magazine articles for this month.

Subscribe now for unlimited access

Online

Unlimited access to The Spectator including the full archive from 1828

Print

Weekly delivery of the magazine

App

Phone & tablet edition of the magazine

Spectator Club

Subscriber-only offers, events and discounts
X

Sign up

What's my subscriber number? Already have an account?

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

Thank you for creating an account – Your subscriber number was not recognised though. To link your subscription visit the My Account page

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

X

Your subscriber number is the 8 digit number printed above your name on the address sheet sent with your magazine each week.

Entering your subscriber number will enable full access to all magazine articles on the site.

If you cannot find your subscriber number then please contact us on customerhelp@subscriptions.co.uk or call 0330 333 0050.

You can create an account in the meantime and link your subscription at a later time. Simply visit the My Account page, enter your subscriber number in the relevant field and click 'submit changes'.

Please note: Previously subscribers used a 'WebID' to log into the website. Your subscriber number is not the same as the WebID. Please ensure you use the subscriber number when you link your subscription.

Coffee House

Cameron’s EU threats must be plausible; nobody likes a Prime Minister who cries wolf

10 June 2014

2:19 PM

10 June 2014

2:19 PM

Angela Merkel is annoyed that David Cameron seems to be issuing threats to other European leaders in order to get what he wants. At a press conference concluding talks held by the centre-right EU leaders in Harpsund, the German Chancellor reiterated her support for Jean-Claude Juncker, and said:

‘I made myself clear by saying that I am for Jean-Claude Juncker. But when I made that statement in Germany I also made the point that we act in a European spirit. We always do that because otherwise you would never reach a compromise.

‘Thus we cannot just consign to the backburner the question of the European spirit. Threats are not part and parcel of that spirit. That is not part of the way in which we usually proceed.’

Acting in an un-European spirit will hardly damage Cameron’s standing at home. But it’s also exactly what he needs to be doing. He needs to unsettle his European colleagues, and needs to give them the sense that he really means business about renegotiation. Of course, his threats need to be plausible: no-one wants a Prime Minister who cries wolf and is ignored.

[Alt-Text]


But Cameron has clearly taken a judgement that he can get someone other than Juncker into the Commission presidency. He will make a big noise as he tries to do it, so that he can add it to his list of European achievements along with his veto and the EU budget cut. These achievements, which everyone said he couldn’t do, are important evidence that he will achieve far more in a renegotiation than his critics say he can.

The Prime Minister now needs to pick every fight very carefully indeed. Even though he is racking up a series of victories – ‘they said we’d never manage to do such-and-such-a-thing but we did’ type ones – he is only as good as his last European foray. If he picks a foolish fight, and falls victim to the complacency that can damage him so much on domestic affairs and party management, then he’ll end up with a bunch of ‘powerless in Europe’ headlines.

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
Close