Saturday 10 December 2011

UK in Europe: This was their finest hour?

If John Bunyan described The Pilgrim's Progress towards the Celestial City, I have depicted the Cameron's regress from bystander through growing weakness to near-isolation in European affairs.

Rejoice, Rejoice

The surreal atmosphere in England is illustrated by EUbusiness: British eurosceptic press jubilant at EU treaty veto.

Here is a German roundup of the British press, by Sandra Fiene (ZDF).

(Let me add that there is nothing sceptic about eurosceptics, led by campaigning anti-EU media aiming at poisoning Britain's EU relatiosnhip until the day of UK secession. Thus, I only use the euphemism in direct quotes.)

These are the sentiments prime minister David Cameron and deputy prime minister Nick Clegg have decided to placate, instead of even allowing the fiscal compact to take shape within the EU framework.

This was their finest hour?

Thinking writers

Let me offer you a roundup of a few actors, thinkers and writers I respect, many of them British citizens (if the concept does not appear too alien) or residents. I won't refer to the contents much, but hope that you take time to read and think.

From free market Sweden, with its own difficulties to remain close to the EU core, foreign minister Carl Bildt - @carlbildt on Twitter – tweeted this:

A very pessimistic analysis by a very competent observer on the consequences of marginalizing oneself in Europe.

Bildt linked to the blog post by Charles Grant, of the Centre for European Reform (CER): Britain on the edge of Europe.

On the CER blog, Simon Tilford mentions Britain only in passing, but his pessimistic assessment of the euro salvage operation is a reminder that Europe needs people outside the governments and institutions willing to discuss the big picture: EU summit: Enough to save the euro?

Just ahead of the fateful summit dinner, The European Citizen set out Britain's Bad Negotiating Position, questioning the repatriation strategy amidst potential euro meltdown (although the power to block financial regulation turned out to be the rabbit Cameron pulled out of his hat).

On the British Politics and Policy at LSE blog the headline by Simon Hix offered a shortcut to the conclusions: David Cameron's EU treaty veto is a disaster for Britain. But do read his reasoning.

Also on the LSE blog, Olaf Cramme saw David Cameron going to Brussels ill prepared and under domestic pressure: Cameron's pandering to euroscepticism and the illusionary 'national interest' is a failure of leadership and leaves Britain in a lose-lose situation.

Ralf Grahn

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