The pressure mounts for David Cameron….
The European summit on Friday 9th December 2011 was the day David Cameron became the first British leader to veto a European treaty. The UK Prime Minister vetoed changes in the European Union’s Lisbon treaty aimed at tackling the Eurozone financial crisis, declaring it was not in Britain’s national interest.
A new fiscal deal to bind the Eurozone did emerge from the European Union summit. We see the prospect of all 26 of the 27 members of the European Union agreeing to a new fiscal deal in a move towards a more disciplined economic policy. EU countries are required to present their national budgets to the European Commission. Stricter budget rules will be installed in the national constitutions of those countries abiding to this agreement. This separate agreement, will see the 26 EU countries finances tied together to solve the Eurozone financial crisis leaving the UK to stand alone.
Germany and France, the Eurozone’s largest economies hoped to reach an agreement among the 27 EU members’ states. Both countries were the driving force in looking to secure this agreement and were not prepared to back down on UK government demands, and consequently the UK opted out of new financial regulations in the EU. Cameron argued that the revised treaty would threaten Britain’s national sovereignty and damage the City of London’s financial services from further EU financial regulation. Unfortunately, Cameron’s decision was not received very well from the French President Nicholas Sarkozy. He said that he would have liked a binding agreement among all 27 EU countries but this was not possible ‘thanks to our British friends.’
Foreign Secretary William Hague has squashed suggestions of a ‘two-speed Europe.’ He stated Britain’s actions would not isolate them from key decisions like the single market which needs the consent from all 27 EU members.
Increasing pressure still lies ahead for David Cameron’s eurosceptic Conservative party in coalition with the pro-European Liberal Democrats. His decision has received support from some of his eurosceptic Tories, while others have called for the UK to renegotiate its alliance with the European Union.
Liberal Democrat leader and Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg has expressed deep concern over the result of the EU summit, warning that there is little to celebrate in a result that leaves Britain ‘isolated and marginalised within the EU’. Liberal Democrat MEP Sharon Bowles has warned the UK may face ‘revenge attacks’ form other EU member’s.
Cameron also faces scrutiny of his veto decision from other political parties. Labour leader, Ed Miliband has expressed his concerns that the UK will now become isolated from the decision making process. Nigel Farage, the UK Independence leader has been left fuming over the veto decision, stating it was ‘the worst of all worlds,’ leaving the UK in Europe but without any political power.
Britain faces the prospect of becoming isolated from Europe, especially in the decision-making process. The EU summit could symbolise the beginning of Britain as a protectionist country safeguarding the national interest, which many have longed for.
What is true, the dynamics and leadership has certainly changed in the European Union and this EU summit proved this.