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Party Management

by afew Thu Jan 24th, 2013 at 03:26:03 AM EST

Cameron's High-Stakes European Gamble - WSJ.com

David Cameron's long-anticipated attempt to set out his EU vision, finally delivered Wednesday in London to an ad hoc gathering of journalists, amounted to little more than a cliché-ridden, largely substance-free exercise in party management that will have increased the risks of a U.K. exit from the EU.


One may question the motives of the Wall Street Journal, but it's hard to disagree with the verdict. Cameron has chosen to put his party problems -- the Eurosceptic wing of the Tories and the rising influence of UKIP -- on hold for the next few years. Agitation will be bad for the negotiations, and there's a referendum in sight, he'll be able to say to his back benches. In the next parliamentary elections, a Tory vote will be a vote for the referendum (take that, UKIP).

The negotiation aims set out in his speech are suitably vague, and reactions from elsewhere in the EU have been firm: "cherrypicking is not an option" said German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle. Angela Merkel has since been more "diplomatic":

EU referendum speech: let's talk, says Merkel after Cameron takes gamble | Politics | The Guardian

Merkel gave a guarded response in which she was careful not to reject Cameron's demands out of hand. "Germany, and I personally, want Britain to be an important part and an active member of the European Union," she said. "We are prepared to talk about British wishes but we must always bear in mind that other countries have different wishes and we must find a fair compromise. We will talk intensively with Britain about its individual ideas but that has some time over the months ahead."

German officials made clear Merkel's words were chosen with great care to ensure Berlin would not block Cameron from placing a referendum commitment in the 2015 Tory manifesto. But Berlin remains highly sceptical of the Tories' tactics and is likely to fight hard against any attempt by Cameron to give Britain a major competitive advantage in the single market.

Yeah, well that's no surprise. It looks as if Cameron, as many think, has indeed painted himself into a corner.


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is that he appears to have weakened his bargaining position within Europe.

Or am I wrong? Insofar as he is clearly preaching for a minimalist EU in which he would be (for example) free to bring back slavery without being scolded by Brussels, or opt out of the EU energy framework, or whatever. I can't see any other country co-operating with a strategy of gutting the EU systematically, whatever they may think about the issues taken separately.

So for the the next few years, I see Cameron posturing ineffectually from the sidelines while others negotiate Europe's future.

Then, if he were to win the next election, he presents his shopping list of demands which is roundly rejected; then we have a referendum in which Britain votes to leave the more-integrated EU that has been negotiated. But more likely, a Labour government, forced into a pro-EU position because there's nowhere else to go, making the unpopular but sensible decision to stay.

Either result is OK by me, as long as Cameron doesn't get to maintain his spoiling position with respect to EU integration.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Thu Jan 24th, 2013 at 03:53:22 AM EST
There's also the possibility that Labour is more or less forced into holding a referendum themselves (the media can be quite hysterical about Europe over here). They would campaign for staying, presumably, which would be difficult, but the Tories might be so reviled then that who knows? Although at the moment it's mostly the Lib Dem that suffer, and they are seen as the most pro-Europe.

Anyway, one has to hope indeed that the EU will not cede to the UK tantrums -they have so many times in the past, to disastrous effect. With a continent in depression, parasites should not be tolerated.

Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed. Gandhi

by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Thu Jan 24th, 2013 at 04:24:09 AM EST
The Lib-Dems (who?):


Nick Clegg: David Cameron is not acting in the national interest over Europe - Telegraph

In a warning to the Prime Minister, Mr Clegg suggested the Liberal Democrats will not go into Coalition with a party that wants a re-negotiation with Europe.

"We should always be governed by what's in the national interest, and my view is that years and years of uncertainty because of a protracted, ill-defined renegotiation of our place in Europe is not in the national interest because it hits growth and jobs," he told Sky News.

The Deputy Prime Minister said there is a "right time and there is a right place for a referendum" but criticised Mr Cameron's decision to name a date in a landmark speech this morning.

Some coalition.

British politics has become so... whatever.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Jan 24th, 2013 at 05:07:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
When the Lib Dems were in opposition to Labour, they advocated a referendum on EU membership claiming they believed it could be won (for continued membership).

Now they're in a coalition with a Tory party which was against a referendum back then, and now says it wants one to get out.

I distribute. You re-distribute. He gives your hard-earned money to lazy scroungers. -- JakeS

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jan 24th, 2013 at 05:13:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
So they were for it before they were against it?


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sapere aude
by Number 6 on Thu Jan 24th, 2013 at 07:27:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Migeru:
When the Lib Dems were in opposition to Labour, they advocated a referendum on EU membership claiming they believed it could be won (for continued membership).

Now they're in a coalition with a Tory party which was against a referendum back then, and now says it wants one to get out.

Exactly. Just one bit missing:

The LD Second-in-Command makes a public statement to the effect that the Tory Commander-in-Chief is not acting in the national interest.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Jan 24th, 2013 at 09:26:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Cameron's speech is purely for domestic consumption. The Tories are being hammered in the polls, anti-EU sentiment is a vote winner, so it's a move to head-off the UKIP-wannabes.

Longer term, the strategy is to keep the CAP payments coming in for the rich grandees, while minimising the influence of those elements of workplace law that make the UK such an anti-competitive nightmare for employers (it says here.) Promoting the UK tax havens is probably part of the plan too. But that's as far as strategy goes.

Cameron doesn't actually want to leave the EU. If the Tories win - which is highly unlikely - he'll be forced to go back on his promise. So I doubt there will be a referendum.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Thu Jan 24th, 2013 at 05:18:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, there's a rump of little Britain Labour MPs as well, mostly failed never-gonna-be-s, but Jon Cruddas features.

He's one of these populist left wingers who thinks that, to appeal to the thatcherite working classes, it is essential to understand and appeal to their base prejudices. He gives cover to the Blairite scum forever pushing Labour to the right

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Thu Jan 24th, 2013 at 11:19:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
How likely is it that Britain would end up leaving the EU while remaining in the EEA, like Switzerland?

I distribute. You re-distribute. He gives your hard-earned money to lazy scroungers. -- JakeS
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jan 24th, 2013 at 05:14:12 AM EST
I would say this isn't very likely, since it is not what they want. They want to limit access to the common market, closing some areas they believe would benefit from isolation. This requires a renegotiation of the treaty, which seems totally unrealistic at the moment.

Vencit omnia veritas.
by Luis de Sousa (luis[dot]a[dot]de[dot]sousa[at]gmail[dot]com) on Thu Jan 24th, 2013 at 05:31:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Such a solution may be a useful way to solve institutional problems between Euro-area and rest of EU. There is more need for a tight integration of Euro-area than for rest of the Union while the Union has more suitable institutional framework for being a federal state than Eurogroup.
by Jute on Thu Jan 24th, 2013 at 05:34:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Guy Verhofstadt puts it in a very simple way:

Verhofstadt: "Cameron is playing with fire over Europe issue"

"By holding out the prospect of renegotiating the terms of Britain's membership of the European Union and subjecting it to a referendum, David Cameron is playing with fire. He can control neither the timing nor the outcome of the negotiations and in so doing is raising false expectations that can never be met."

There will be nothing to vote on by 2017. By then a new EU structure will already by in place and on the current tack the UK will be out of it. In the following 5 years the member states outside the Eurozone will have to chose on either joining in (perhaps with different degrees of integration) or be left out. With his failed gamble in November of 2011, Cameron has already marginalised the UK from this process. This speech is nothing but a show for the internal politics of the UK and way of luring UK citizens.

Vencit omnia veritas.
by Luis de Sousa (luis[dot]a[dot]de[dot]sousa[at]gmail[dot]com) on Thu Jan 24th, 2013 at 05:25:51 AM EST
By 2017 the Eurozone will not be the relevant forum for pushing forward European integration: Germany has stated, in so many words, that it does not want a currency union. Germany has to be a part of any move to further integrate Europe. Ergo: The Eurogroup will not be the core forum for negotiating further integration.

- Jake

Austerity can only be implemented in the shadow of a concentration camp.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Thu Jan 24th, 2013 at 03:18:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
How much Germany's opposition to currency union is meant for domestic consumption? Many opponents of currency union believe that Merkel is publicly opposing currency union to cover up the series of small steps towards it.
by Jute on Fri Jan 25th, 2013 at 05:29:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
But then again, most German opponents of transfer union could probably be clinically classified as delusional paranoiacs.

- Jake

Austerity can only be implemented in the shadow of a concentration camp.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Fri Jan 25th, 2013 at 04:23:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Minister Radosław Sikorski about David Cameron`s speech; Polish Press Agency news 24.01.2013

MFA Chief Radosław Sikorski was asked on Thursday about how he assessed Wednesday's speech by the British PM David Cameron, who declared that an ever closer union to which Europe is now heading was not in Great Britain's interest and reaffirmed his intention to renegotiate London's relations with the EU, and to put the result of such efforts to a referendum before the end of 2017.

 

 

Minister Sikorski said that it was an important speech, one which made things crystal clear.

 

 

The MFA chief believes that Cameron has moved his country in the EU hierarchy from a member of the triumvirate composed of Great Britain, Germany and France to a category of "a country under special care" requiring special attention so it does not do something unwise and exit the EU.

 

 

Sikorski emphasized that on this account "the group wielding power in the EU will have a different make-up".



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Thu Jan 24th, 2013 at 09:13:15 AM EST
Ouch! Major diss!


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sapere aude
by Number 6 on Thu Jan 24th, 2013 at 10:57:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And he's asupposed cameron Ally in Europe and a former member of the Bullingdon club

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Thu Jan 24th, 2013 at 12:08:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The MFA chief believes that Cameron has moved his country in the EU hierarchy from a member of the triumvirate composed of Great Britain, Germany and France to a category of "a country under special care" requiring special attention so it does not do something unwise and exit the EU.
These people continue to pretend article 50 of the TFEU doesn't exist.

I distribute. You re-distribute. He gives your hard-earned money to lazy scroungers. -- JakeS
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jan 24th, 2013 at 11:08:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
But that i a card you can play only once.

Cameron is bluffing to buy time vis-a-vis the more rabid tories and to stem the rise of UKIP.

by IM on Fri Jan 25th, 2013 at 06:39:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Cameron misreading Merkel

Quentin Peel offers a useful reminder in the Financial Times of a long history of British misjudgements of German policy, following Angela Merkel's restrained reaction to David Cameron's speech, which the British government interpreted as a willingness to compromise. Peel says not only the referendum is a gamble, but also the assumption that Germany is willing to help Britain secure a new agreement. Peel recalls other episodes when Downing Street misread German policy, and quotes a German official as saying that Merkel will enter the treaty negotiations (if she is still the chancellor by then) to achieve more Europe, subjecting any changes to the euro stability test. She is already backing away from the need for big treaty change. She may even eschew a treaty change altogether. One of the reasons is that President François Hollande is desperate to avoid any referendum in France. Peel quotes a German official as saying that the most Germany could offer to Cameron would a very limited treaty change, much less than what he wants.

Eurointelligence e-mail briefing.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Fri Jan 25th, 2013 at 05:33:50 AM EST
I had interpreted Merkel's willingness to "talk" to Cameron as a proposal to take him behind the woodshed for a good talking-to.

But all this is of little import to Cameron, who has taken a posture for internal consumption, with reckless disregard for its effect on the EU, or even of the UK's position in the EU, which he has seriously weakened (in terms of what he professes to desire).

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Fri Jan 25th, 2013 at 05:48:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Cameron comes from a tradition where the only two possible "positions" are
a) running the show
b) not being involved.

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sapere aude
by Number 6 on Fri Jan 25th, 2013 at 06:59:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Jute:
Many opponents of currency union believe that Merkel is publicly opposing currency union to cover up the series of small steps towards it.

afew:
Cameron misreading Merkel

eurogreen:
I had interpreted Merkel's willingness to "talk" to Cameron as a proposal to take him behind the woodshed for a good talking-to.

She does it on purpose. In a few months, when it has become clear which options will get a bashing and which are successful, the successful option will have been the right interpretation, the thing she has always said.

I am interpreting her words as: where Cameron has the same aims as she: "increasing competiveness" and so, she is very much willing to compromise (and let him take the blame, if any). If everyone agrees not to compromise with him, well, she has always advocated the same.

by Katrin on Fri Jan 25th, 2013 at 10:01:08 AM EST


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