Quantcast
Latest Stories

Britain’s Cameron wins new allies in EU budget battle

By

Britain’s Prime Minister David Cameron. AP

BRUSSELS—British Prime Minister David Cameron has ended his European isolation, for the time being at least, after Germany and other nations backed his call for cuts to the troubled EU budget.

Nearly a year ago Cameron was the outcast of Europe, finding himself shunned by angry counterparts when he vetoed a crucial fiscal pact that was aimed at tackling the crisis in the eurozone.

But this time there were few of the same recriminations and Cameron named Germany, Sweden, The Netherlands, Finland and Denmark as having backed his position.

By marshalling an austerity-supporting “northern European” bloc he will also please eurosceptics in his party back home who are threatening to rebel if he does not loosen Britain’s ties with the EU.

“This was not Britain as some sort of lone actor,” Cameron told a press conference.

“At this council a lot of people said, ‘Well, Britain will just be isolated and standing alone in standing up for a better deal.’ But we had strong allies.”

Cameron engaged in frantic pre-summit diplomacy to win allies, meeting twice with Germany Chancellor Angela Merkel and once with French President Francois Hollande during the two-day Brussels summit.

But a clearly frustrated Cameron still had choice words for the EU, saying the budget deal it offered was “just not good enough”, and insisting there should be cuts to the perks, pay and pensions of “eurocrats”.

“Brussels continues to exist as if it is in a parallel universe,” Cameron said.

“Last night the Commission didn’t offer a single euro in savings, not one euro, and I just don’t think that is good enough.”

A British source criticised a lack of preparation by EU President Herman Van Rompuy for the summit, saying it made negotiations more difficult.

Cameron did not escape unscathed from criticism on Friday.

Italian premier Mario Monti blamed him for the breakdown of the budget talks and accused him of “demagoguery”.

Hollande meanwhile said the British premier had come to the summit with a “set priority” to protect Britain’s cherished EU rebate.

Britain has claimed that right since then prime minister Margaret Thatcher obtained one in 1984 on the grounds that London was paying too much into the bloc’s coffers.

But Cameron’s diplomatic efforts appeared to bear fruit with overt support from Sweden and The Netherlands.

A British official said the German chancellor was “sympathetic” towards their position. Reports of an “axis” between London and Berlin quickly led to Cameron and Merkel being dubbed “Merkeron” or “Camerkel”.

Meanwhile an EU source said that while the rest of the bloc appeared unwilling to move towards the British position, it would not be sensible to send any country home to face voters without any concessions.

At home, Cameron is walking a political tightrope on the European issue.

He leads a fragile coalition government with the pro-Europe Liberal Democrats and faces elections in 2015 during which he will try to win a majority, for which he will need the “eurosceptic” wing of his Conservative party on-side.

The eurosceptics subjected Cameron to a humiliating parliamentary defeat on the budget issue last month and they have public opinion behind them, with many Britons seeing the EU as a meddling gravy train.

Europe has been a toxic issue for the party for decades, having helped to bring down Thatcher and hobbling her successor John Major.

But Cameron must also avoid burning all his bridges in Europe ahead of a summit in December focusing on banking, where he will be trying to protect London’s vital financial services industry.

For all the talk of a possible “Brixit” from the EU, Europe remains by far Britain’s largest trading partner, while Britain is the EU’s third largest economy.

British commentators said Cameron had “played a blinder” for now.

“Game, set and match to David Cameron,” John Rentoul, a political commentator for The Independent on Sunday newspaper, wrote on Twitter.

But the issue will not go away, and Cameron is expected to set out before Christmas his plans to reclaim powers from Europe and then put those measures to a vote.

“I support our membership of the EU, but I don’t support the status quo. I believe we need a new settlement,” he said.


Follow Us

Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter


Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Tags: David Cameron , European Union , United Kingdom




Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94
Advertisement
  1. 12 senators on Napoles ‘pork’ list, says Lacson
  2. Save the queen? Aide takes fall for Enrile, Gigi Reyes
  3. Palace prepared to charge its allies
  4. Senator’s kickback from pork bigger than those of Enrile, Estrada, Revilla – Lacson
  5. Napoles turnaround alarms whistle-blowers
  6. What Went Before: Malacañang allies alleged involvement in pork scam
  7. Napoles spills beans on Enrile, Estrada, Revilla – De Lima
  8. Timeline: Napoles tell-all
  9. HK apology: Why Estrada and not Aquino?
  10. Cedric Lee’s cohort flies out of PH despite look-out order – De Lima
  1. Napoles spills beans on Enrile, Estrada, Revilla – De Lima
  2. 12 senators on Napoles ‘pork’ list, says Lacson
  3. Gigi Reyes pins blame on aide
  4. Estrada: Gigi Reyes won’t testify vs JPE
  5. Bernice Lee arrested by NBI team
  6. Enrile chief aide back in PH ‘to face charges’
  7. Cedric Lee’s cohort flies out of PH despite look-out order – De Lima
  8. Suspect in Vhong Navarro’s mauling wants to turn state witness – De Lima
  9. Reckless driver endangered lives of Aquino, entourage–report
  10. Lawyer: Napoles ‘will tell all’
  1. MRT passengers pass the hat for 6-year-old Ashley
  2. Rookie, lady cops lauded for quick response to MOA heist
  3. Napoles spills beans on Enrile, Estrada, Revilla – De Lima
  4. Malaysia averts another air tragedy; pilot lands troubled plane safely
  5. Revilla says he was joking; Lacson stands by his story
  6. Revilla ‘consulted’ Lacson on how he evaded arrest
  7. 12 senators on Napoles ‘pork’ list, says Lacson
  8. Gigi Reyes pins blame on aide
  9. Cudia, dismissed for lying, got 99% in conduct
  10. Kim Henares needs a reprimand, says Cayetano
Advertisement

News

  • Smooth Edsa ride up in 2 years, but…
  • Obama: US will defend Japan vs China
  • Santiago accuses Lacson of fronting for Enrile, Gigi Reyes
  • Name names, Lacson told
  • Ukraine FM: We are ready to fight Russia
  • Sports

  • Sharapova advances to Stuttgart quarterfinals
  • Galedo caps ride of redemption
  • Beermen, Express dispute second semis slot today
  • Lady Agilas upset Lady Bulldogs in four sets
  • NLEX roars to 7th D-League win
  • Lifestyle

  • Marinduque: Visiting the ‘palm of the ocean’
  • First at Vatican in 60 years
  • How Jing Monis Salon gave Krissy the pixie
  • Want to be a supermodel? Work on your inner beauty, says Joey Espino
  • Denims that keep you cool–literally
  • Entertainment

  • Kristoffer Martin: from thug to gay teen
  • Has Ai Ai fallen deeply with ‘sireno?’
  • California court won’t review Jackson doctor case
  • Cris Villonco on play adapted from different medium
  • OMB exec’s assurance: We work 24/7
  • Business

  • How author of best-seller exposed ‘one percent’ economic elite
  • Bangko Sentral readies new bank lending rules
  • Gaming stocks gain, PSEi eases on profit-taking
  • Cebu Pacific flew 3.74M passengers as of March
  • Corporate bonds sweeteners
  • Technology

  • Vatican announces hashtag for April 27 canonizations
  • Enrile in Masters of the Universe, Lord of the Rings?
  • Top Traits of Digital Marketers
  • No truth to viral no-visa ‘chronicles’
  • ‘Unlimited’ Internet promos not really limitless; lawmakers call for probe
  • Opinion

  • Editorial Cartoon, April 25, 2014
  • No deal, Janet
  • Like making Al Capone a witness vs his gang
  • MERS-CoV and mothers
  • A graduation story
  • Global Nation

  • HK victims to get P115M; traders raised money
  • Afghan hospital guard kills 3 American doctors
  • Career diplomat is new PH consul general in Los Angeles
  • US4GG: Aquino should ask Obama for TPS approval, drone technology
  • Complex health care system for California’s elderly and poor explained
  • Marketplace
    Advertisement