Friday 9 December 2011

Cameron in European Council: Weak, weaker... (Updated)

Without democratic government and sufficient powers at the European Union or eurozone level, the national leaders have been forced to proceed further on the road of intergovernmentalism, although credible and sustainable solutions need durable and legitimate foundations.

While we wait for the conclusions from the European Council, this is how the leaders of the euro area countries and other EU member states have tried to manoeuvre despite these self-imposed structural weaknesses: Statement by the euro area heads of state or government (9 December 2011; 7 pages).

United Kingdom

If Britain has been a constant gardener of weakening its position in the European Union, prime minister Cavid Cameron managed to drive the wedge further in, by alienating almost all the rest of the participants, by demanding escape clauses for British financial services from internal market rules.

With the global financial system in danger, Nero would have been proud of Cameron's priorities.

Let us look at some early reactions after the EUCO all-nighter, especially with regard to the United Kingdom.

Financial services are, as we know, part and parcel of the internal market. What remains of UK goodwill capital to press for future concessions among the 27? Le Monde quotes the French president Nicolas Sarkozy on Britain's ”unacceptable” demands regarding financial regulation, the absence of which Sarkozy sees as a root cause of the current problems.

On FundaciĆ³n Civil, the headline of Mario Conde says that the English have become ”anti-system” in the European Union, but he also notes that the fiscal compact is all discipline (Merkel), but no eurobonds or new tasks for the ECB (in Spanish).

According to David Cameron, the agreement between the EU countries is not in Britain's interest, so he hopes that the EU institutions will protect British interests and he wishes the rest of the union well in their endeavours to safeguard the euro.

How many Europeans do you think, by now hope that Cameron arranges an exit referendum?


Update 9 December 2011: The euro area statement has been revised, tentatively bringing the participants to 26 (all but UK). Here is the web page with the statement in all EU languages.

Ralf Grahn

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