Archive for the ‘British EU Veto’ Category

A French message to Britain!

Mardi, juin 24th, 2014

A French message to Britain: get out of Europe before you wreck it!

This article by French Socialist and former Prime Minister Michel Rocard was published in Le Monde on 5th June, 2014 and then on-line in English in The Guardian (www.the guardian.com) on 6th June, 2014.

“The European Union is on its knees but you, the British, want to block even small steps to democratic legitimacy.”

“Now you pretend to want to exit; the majority of your people are in no doubt about it. But you have a banking interest in remaining to capitalise on the disorder that you have helped to create.

So go before you wreck everything.

There was a time when being British was synonymous with elegance. Let us rebuild Europe. Regain your elegance and you will regain our esteem.”

Cameron’s Negotiation With EU (for comment)

Vendredi, novembre 29th, 2013

It has been suggested that I write about the concessions Cameron should attempt to wrest from the European Union, as a preliminary to the holding of a referendum on EU membership.

This is a very difficult challenge. Cameron has up till now been very circumspect in revealing his intentions in this respect because, it is said, they are going to be regarded as too minimalist to satisfy his backbenchers and too minimalist to counter the threat from the UKIP in the 2015 elections. These considerations may result in his waiting till after the election to reveal his hand.

What are the areas in which he is most likely to make his demands?

1) A limitation of the strictures regarding Human Rights? The Government has probably already achieved all it can expect in this area.

2) Protection against measures limiting the freedom of the City’s financial market, on which Paris and Frankfurt cast envious eyes, by, for instance, requiring a universal vote so that Britain would have a veto to exercise.

3) Greater freedom to institute measures limiting immigration. This is probably the issue of greatest concern to the electorate and the one to which other countries would be most responsive. His first step is to make welfare measures unavailable to people immigrating with too inadequate financial prospects, aimed chiefly at Rumanians and Bulgarians.

4) Surely, restrictions of the powers of the Brussels administration to impose bureaucratic regulations in the spheres of labour laws, food standards etc. which are probably the major cause of public dissatisfaction with membership of the EU.

5) The expansion of the EU mandate to cover free exchange of services, not just goods.

Cameron is probably caught in a real dilemma. There is little sympathy with Britain’s cause among other members of the EU. Merkel has expressed some feeling of common cause and the Netherlands have evinced some desire to limit Brussels powers but they only want to limit further extension of the powers, not to carry out major revisions.

There is little sympathy among Britain’s EU partners for its demands for yet more exceptionalist treatment. And why would they want to satisfy Britain’s demands for it, knowing that she may subsequently choose to leave the Union anyway?

There is one possible area for hope. There is a desire among countries led by France to carry out greater consolidation of the Union, probably necessitating a revision of the Treaty. This would require a universal vote, which would greatly strengthen Britain’s bargaining position.

One last thought. Surely the one most vital consideration is that of trade, remembering that 50% of our trade is with Europe. It is significant that virtually all of our captains of industry are opposed to our leaving the EU. Some people claim it would be “a gift to the French” as it would discourage foreign investment in Britain by US and Asian investors, if Britain lost assured access to the European markets.

Michael Webster

“TO BE OR NOT TO BE” IN by Michael Webster

Samedi, février 9th, 2013

Although a life-long supporter of the Conservative Party, I am dismayed by the party’s conduct on the issue of EU membership. The promise to hold a referendum five years from now will depend on its being re-elected in 2015, which is at best uncertain, since parties do not get re-elected when economies are sour. And the opposition does not want to hold one if they win that election.
We are, therefore, committed to a long period of uncertainty, which can only have harmful effects. Probably, the most serious ones will be to diminish our influence with our EU partners and to discourage foreign investment in Britain. It will be bad for business generally, because it is well-known that it does not like uncertainty.
PM Cameron’s chief concern has been his Parliamentary members, it being reported that some 250 out of 304 Party MPs are delighted. It may be of less interest to the public. The Economist magazine reports that ” the voters are less neuralgic about Europe than their representatives at Westminster. When asked which topics most concern them, voters mention Europe much less than they used to. What they worry about is the economy, health care and crime.”
So, by promising a referendum, we may be provoking unnecessary attention to the question, with the risk of a negative vote based on dissatisfaction with Brussels mandates on doctors’ hours of service, convicts’ rights to vote and similar comparatively minor matters, while doing serious harm to our economic interests, a cause of great concern to our business leaders.
And all this to achieve a result to which the leaders of all the political parties,except UKIP, are opposed.

British Veto of EU Treaty

Mercredi, décembre 14th, 2011

At the European summit in Brussels on 8th December, 2011 David Cameron defied all predictions by becoming the first British Prime Minister to veto a European treaty (aimed at stabilizing the Eurozone). This has not only surprised but also pleased his Eurosceptic backbench MPs. In contrast, others of his critics charge that President Sarkozy of France was the real winner in Brussels by forcing the Prime Minister to exercise his veto, thus removing him in one fell swoop as an important rival in influencing the German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, leaving the field open for French officials to guide decision making in Europe. President Sarkozy of course has his own critics in France e.g. the Socialist presidential candidate, Francois Hollande, accuses him of yielding too much to Berlin.
One explanation for this turn of events is that Britain has a different view of its national interest from France and Germany, with both these nations seeking ever closer union and there is seemingly nothing to stop them going ahead with this strategy. However, the problem remains that the immediate crisis of the Eurozone has been neglected again, with no plan for the weaker members emerging from the talks. Indeed, the main issue for the Eurozone, and Britain, is not trade imbalances as such which are narrowing for its member states because of depressed activity reducing imports versus exports. More important is the major long term question of whether Eurozone members can overcome the huge loss of competitiveness since the Euro was launched.
Since 2000, while German unit labour costs have risen by less than 5%, over the same period those of France have increased by 25%, Spain by over 30% and Italy almost 40%. According to the OECD, most of these countries will not close this competitive gap in the next two years. Longer term, it is not clear if a process has been established to also allow these countries to successfully grow their economies and prevent government debt from rising inexorably at the same time.
Things do not look so good for the British economy either, with an outright break with the EU leading to the possibility of economic misfortune for both sides. The current crisis impacting the future of the EU is taking place within a tense political environment created by recession and an angry public suffering real hardship across Europe. For Britain the challenge is to re-establish or redefine its relationship with the EU, without damaging its current trading partnership.