Many Prime Ministers go native when they head to Brussels. But David Cameron’s hostility to the whole racket is hardening with every trip. At his post-summit press conference today, he was remarkably frank about what had just happened. “I have defeated this latest attempt to cut the rebate,” he said.
“I am frustrated I have to go through that battle all over again. But in this town you have to be ready for an ambush at any time, and that means lock and load and have one up the spout, and be ready for it. And that is exactly what I did… It is, and I won’t lie, it is immensely frustrating sometimes, the way this organisation works . . . I think this is no way for an organisation to conduct itself.”
The French tried to recalculate the rebate on British payments for east European farm spending. But they were given a bit of the Wellington treatment. “The end result is that the rebated has been secured in an even more detailed way than what we had in the past,” Cameron said (all this is interesting, because German accounts blame him for the ambush). Cameron explains in more detail in the below clip, his anger showing towards the end.
Cameron may be teased for the Dirty Harry language, but it perfectly represents his country’s exasperation with the way things work in Brussels. The below is the European Commission’s own polling, taken last year, asking various countries what they think of it all. The Greeks have every reason to dislike the EU as do the Italians. But who is the most hostile?