Britain seeks new EU deal from euro zone crisis

BRUSSELS Fri Dec 14, 2012 10:05am EST

Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron holds a news conference during a European Union leaders summit, in Brussels December 14, 2012. REUTERS/Eric Vidal

Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron holds a news conference during a European Union leaders summit, in Brussels December 14, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Eric Vidal

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Britain must use the upheaval created by the euro zone crisis to forge a new relationship with the European Union, Prime Minister David Cameron said on Friday as he fights a rising anti-EU mood at home that could threaten his chances of re-election.

Speaking at the end of a summit of EU leaders that secured the first part of a banking union, Cameron played down fears Britain's future lies on the margins of a two-tier Europe, while euro zone members build an ever-stronger core.

"I don't think Britain is in an uncomfortable position at all," he told a news conference in Brussels at the end of the two-day summit. "We're in a position where we have opportunities to maximise what we want from our relationship."

Cameron, trailing in the polls before a 2015 election, is under pressure from the anti-EU camp in his ruling Conservative Party to reshape Britain's role in Europe or leave the bloc all together after nearly 40 years in the union.

Along with the sluggish economy, Britain's ties with Europe will be one of the fiercest battlegrounds in the election. Polls suggest around half of Britons want to leave Europe and a third want to stay in, with the number of those who want out rising.

Cameron said the summit deal on banking supervision was a sign of the huge changes that lie ahead for the euro zone, a club that Britain does not want to join. Those reforms must be matched by a shift in Britain's position in Europe, he said.

"It will lead to opportunities for us in the UK to make changes in our relationship with the European Union that will suit us better, which the British people will feel more comfortable about," Cameron said.

DECADES OF DIVISION

In a sign of the sensitivity of the EU debate, Cameron has again delayed a setpiece European speech that was due to lay out his views on a subject that has divided the country for decades.

Cameron rejects the idea of an "in or out" vote in favour of a referendum on a new role inside the EU, Britain's biggest trading partner. Under a law passed in 2011, a major transfer of power from London to Brussels in any change to the EU treaty must be put to a public vote.

His talk of a new deal for Britain in Europe may not be sufficient to silence his party's eurosceptics, a powerful group that helped to bring down the Conservatives' last two prime ministers, Margaret Thatcher and John Major.

Anti-EU rebels gave Cameron his first major parliamentary defeat in October in a vote calling for EU budget cuts. The increasingly popular UK Independence Party, a fringe group that wants Britain to pull out of Europe, is also a threat.

Cameron must tread a delicate line between talking tough on Brussels to appeal to eurosceptics, and striking a conciliatory tone that will play well with often exasperated EU neighbours and his pro-EU coalition partners, the Liberal Democrats.

In stark contrast to a summit last December when Britain was isolated after blocking a deal on closer fiscal ties, Cameron's role this time was more low key.

"This wasn't really our fight," one British official said, referring to London's position outside the euro zone.

(Editing by Luke Baker)

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Comments (3)
So when are the EU’s membership national parliaments going to vote themselves out of existence, and simply let Brussels get on with it all on behalf of the ruling elite?

Any ETA yet?

Dec 14, 2012 11:00am EST  --  Report as abuse
DR9WX wrote:
Just remember the Elite aren’t all that Elite. Just born rich, very rich.

Dec 14, 2012 1:58pm EST  --  Report as abuse
DR9WX wrote:
The plan for the next ten years is

1) reduce the purchasing power of todays pound to 50p
2) Government to say whatever is necessary to maintain ‘social cohesion’
3) BoE to say whatever is necessary to maintain our belief in the pound

If that works the plan for the following ten years is

1) reduce the purchasing power of the todays pound to 25p
2) Government to say whatever is necessary to maintain ‘social cohesion’
3) BoE to say whatever is necessary to maintain our belief in the pound

Obviously there are ‘events’ that could derail this plan.

1) The public noticing
2) The public noticing
3) The public noticing

If the twenty year plan succeeds then we can carry on pretending all is well. This could last for up to forty years before the above two plans are repeated. History books would note that the human race peaked in 2004. Then started going backwards. At least in the western world.

Live Long and suffer. (Unfortunately.)

The alternative requires us to notice that we can’t actually afford the NHS, schools, police, army and a huge Government. But who wants to notice that? Upon noticing, what sort of person would try to get others to notice too?

There is a way out. Half the size of the Government, Police and NHS over the next ten years. Then half it again over the following ten years. Start reducing the working week from 5 to 4 to possibly 3 days a week until all that want a job have a choice of jobs. Start reducing unemployment benefit and encourage people to grow their own food. Ouch. Reduce taxes and allow interest rates to seek their own level. Start building houses until the prices are about three times the local salary of a single worker.

We need more productive workers and fewer passengers and wasters. We need society to re-engage with itself. Instead of Mrs Busy Body building support to get the government to do this or that. Mrs Busy Body should be building the support to organise this or that herself.

Really people, get up off your bottom and start being a productive and valued member of society rather than acquiring bits of paper with numbers on to spend or hoard. How stupid and wasteful is this society going to get? Please notice before most of the wealth has gone!

Twenty years of ‘my’ plan and the pound isn’t worth 25p it is worth about a £5.

I didn’t mention the required structural reform of the Banks and Government, I have mentioned it in previous posts.

Your choice, in 20 years time your pound worth 25p or £5?
In 100 years time your pound worth 5p or £20?

(That’s 5p or £20 based on the value of todays pound!)

I have also pointed out how your society will be paid for, 95% of the publics wealth consumed over the next 100 years is the required price.

My society doubles its wealth many times over. You will be doing both paid and voluntary work. You will also be contributing to local projects such as police, schooling and medical centres. You may choose to support police and volunteer to be a policeman two days a week whilst being in paid employment 3 days a week. You will be growing your own food, you will be responsible for your own welfare, that of you loved ones and local community. You will be happier. You will be free.

Or not. You seem to want to cling to what you can’t afford. Your grand childrens grand children won’t be happy and won’t be free. They could be working in sweat shops producing cheap shoes for wealthy Asian families.

What goes around comes around.

Think on.

Wake up.

Have a think.

Open your eyes.

In whatever order you see fit.

In which case, Live long and Prosper.

Dec 15, 2012 5:00am EST  --  Report as abuse
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