Saturday 10 December 2011

European Council: UK's heroic obstructionism?

It was not much the other EU member states asked for, but UK prime minister David Cameron and deputy prime minister Nick Clegg were unwilling or unable to allow the eurozone to proceed with a treaty fix to strengthen economic coordination within the euro area.

A responsible member state government would have given a helping hand, by signing the agreement and its parliament would have nodded through ratification (a simple laissez-passer). End of story.

The United Kingdom, however, was mean-spirited and obstructionist, even if the agreement would not have altered its relationship with the EU, only given the willing member states the opportunity to advance.

Mass market media have elevated the prime minister to Churchillian proportions, totally forgetting that putting out fires in the eurozone (with Britain a close neighbour) and the global financial system is a civilian rescue operation completely different from defending your country from foreign invasion. Actually, it is in Britian's interest.

After this we have to wonder, are there any rational voices left? At least well wishes have a hollow ring, when accompanied by gratuitous acts of sabotage.

A blog roundup gives us some indications.

Blogs etc.

On Global Dashboard, Britain and Europe after the veto discusses various consequences for the United Kingdom in an instructive manner.

The Labour leader Ed Miliband mostly seems content to accuse prime minister Cameron of failure to defend the interests of Britain, its financial industry and export businesses, but he is extremely thin on what a Labour government would do.

Timothy Garton Ash sees the split between the vast majority (at least 23 countries) and Britain as a turning point in history, even if the eurozone has plenty of crises to come. Cameron has not served British long term interests, but Europe will be weakened too: David Cameron's 'no' is bad for Britain and for Europe.

At the end of the day it is always the kids who end up paying the price of a messy divorce, says Mojo Working.

The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland never saw itself as European, but the fiscal compact means a first step on the road towards greater unity, says Dadefinspeaking (in Spanish).

Jason O'Mahony portrays The British eurosceptic as a maligned victim, adding a lighter touch to the überserious discussion, but correctly accuses the unrepresentative UK political system of failure.

Éoin Clarke puts a different spin on the matter on Liberal Conspiracy by arguing in purely domestic terms why Cameron's No is a vote-winner.

I on Europe sees Britain isolating itself in a story with enough general background on European integration to fill in for instance US readers: Europe forges fiscal union, sees way out of crisis.

Michael Heaver, who among other things dislikes the EU, questions what exactly Cameron delivers, since no powers are repatriated.

Even the UK's usual allies in the American media were aghast, the Gulf Stream Blues blog chips in: 9 December 2011: The day Britain left Europe.

The European Union Law presents the main components of the new fiscal compact and the toxic role of the United Kingdom: What's Behind the New Eurozone Fiscal Stability Union?

The Independent has a list of quotes which show that people in or close to Cameron's government publicly support his rejection at the EU summit.

Kosmopolito discusses Cameron's diplomatic failure, since his demands had nothing to do with the issues on the agenda and nobody knew about his demands in advance. ”Moreover, Cameron has no allies whatsoever.” The post deals with many of the salient points.

If Cameron had signed the treaty offered, then the opposition and his own party would have launched a further attack on his leadership, says Tom Scholes-Fogg.

Noëlle Lenoir discusses Camerons No to the fiscal compact at the European Council and his withdrawal from the discussions about the alternative, an intergovernmental treaty. She takes note of different steps the United Kingdom and the Tories have taken towards the outer rim of Europe. On the other hand, chancellor Angela Merkel has imposed her will (including the limits on action) on the rest of the members (in French).

Ralf Grahn

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