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Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Cameron's poker face?

No, Europe hasn't collectively turned against Cameron (which you would think from reading headlines like these - seriously?). Though several politicians from around Europe haven't exactly come out celebrating following Cameron's speech - which doesn't help the Tories - he's getting a fair hearing amongst several commentators. 

Enrico Brivio, columnist for Italy´s main business daily Il Sole 24 Ore, provides a vivid if mixed analysis of the speech, saying:
“Poker players in the Old West said you play more comfortably when you put the gun on the table. And David Cameron has today put the referendum gun on the table of European negotiations.”

He says Cameron has taken 'a big gamble', but has nonetheless decided to follow a “lucid political strategy which [Italian] politicians…don´t always show.” 
Rzeczpospolita foreign editor Jerzy HaszczyƄski is a bit more supportive arguing:
“David Cameron is right. The EU is far from ideal. It tries to make everything uniform, including the working hours of British doctors, it does not value the diversity of states and nations, it does not support competitiveness. And it is increasingly undemocratic. David Cameron is correct to demand a real debate about the future of the EU. He is right to suggest that the EU has forgotten about its citizens, about their will as expressed through elections to national parliaments, and that it is comfortable making decisions behind closed doors. However, this does not mean that David Cameron is right to accept the fact that his country could in a few years leave the EU.” 
Meanwhile, in a front-page comment piece for Die Welt this morning, assistant chief editor Andrea Seibel argues:
There is 'nothing final' about the ‘Franco-German engine’ for Europe and that “the British scepticism, their non-conformity and liberalism have always also been the engine of Europe…Today a German-British axis is needed. From now on it’s not about the past anymore, but about the future of the continent.” 
Although her colleague Daniel D. Eckert was less enthused, tweeting:
“Cameron’s goals are honourable. But they only fit an EU which is conceived as a free trade zone. Euroland doesn’t function like that”. 
Elsevier's political editor Eric Vrijsen argues that:
“While David Cameron dares, [Dutch Prime Minister] Mark Rutte dives...in the Dutch coalition agreement between VVD and PvdA it is stated that the national state must regain competences back from Brussels… [but] Rutte is shying away [because] he is stuck with a coalition partner which is clearly pro-European”. 
We would note the Dutch comments on the return of powers being part of the coalition agreement are particularly interesting. We’ll have more on that, especially with rumours in the Dutch press today that Rutte could look to launch his own "balance of competencies" review.

1 comment:

Rik said...

In Holland both government parties look to move. Basically they simply have to. They are doing extremely poor in the polls.

Wilders is on a full scale attack (like usual) on the VVD (Rutte). and the SP on Dutch Labour.
They are probably forced to do some things.
One of the next weeks there is a debate in Dutch parliament on the issue btw.