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Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Did Cameron just lose a close EU ally?

Under its former ODS government, the Czech Republic, was a card carrying member of David Cameron's reform camp. Traditionally wary of "ever closer union", the Czech Republic refused to join the Euro, objected to the Charter of Fundamental Rights and, along with the UK, refused to sign up to the fiscal pact. All this combined with a shared economic liberalism made agreement easy. Unfortunately for David Cameron, they also failed to win an election.

The new Government is a very different creature. Formed from a Coalition of the Socialists, Christian-Democrats and the new insurgent Party ANO (Yes in Czech), the new finance minister has already dropped the former Government's principled objection to the Euro (although membership is still not an immediate likelihood), and now the leading candidate for the Human Rights Minister position seemingly wishes to abandon the country's semi opt-out from the EU's Charter of Fundamental Rights. With a one time self-described EU Federalist President (Milos Zeman) and a pro-integration foreign minister - the Czech Republic's direction of travel has certainly changed. It will likely be a big task for David Cameron to keep them onside.


Rik said...

They will move when Germany moves.
Imho always the payer nations that are by far the most important.
And of course the Czechs will like to keep all those nice EU subsidies, which could work both ways.

Anonymous said...

I remember the ridiculous sight of Cameron being alone and out voted by 26 of these moronic countries wrt the FTT. Of those 26 countries, how many are still in favour of the FTT?!

The UK had no friends then and still has none now, even though it has been right all along about the Euro and the economic disaster that is still unfolding in the MananaZone. Yet all of these basket case nations are quite happy for the UK to keep on taking more and more of their own economic refugees.

Let's keep our GBP20Bn to ourselves and spend it on the UK - or better still lower the PSBR by not having to borrow it in the first place.

Free trade. No sovereignty.


Rik said...

Cameron could go for an outright majority in which case he would likely need countries like the Czech republic. Should not be written off hower.

Better imho is go for the big one Merky. Possibly she has to act if the CCourt does its job so might go very easy.
With as plan B (or better support plan A) get support from and in critical countries. Holland probably top of that list. The largest non German payer (better guarantor) plus Euro member.
With a few parties (may be only one moving combined with the polls it looks like that there will be a huge pro-reform movement and a structural one as well. Not like the Czechs where things might be reversed in a next election.
Both political and electoral. And likely when the Dutch move a few other Austrians and Finns might move as well on reform that is.

Hard to see that the EU want to risk the outcome of a Dutch even non binding referendum. As an out would very likely mean bye bye Euro and Eurozone.

The risk for the EZ is imho always been more political than financial. And of course when the political risk becomes clear the markets will react, probably even before the actual decision.
Anyway the EU simply cannot risk a country like Holland leaving the Euro. Likely similar with Finnland or Austria.

If you look now in Holland there is likely a majority for substantial reform. Very likely populists will win that much seats that combined with parties that otherwise would be butchered will move as well that there is shortly a) a popular platform and b) a political majority for change.
If they play a bit hardball (like Osborne), likely behind closed doors they are likely in an as good position as the UK to demand reforms.
Hardball won't be that difficult. Ignore the voter and in in a (non binding) referendum or a vote the other side will be butchered. Like what happened with Lisbon. It is a very realistic treath.

All guarantor Euro countries have become extremely important because the rescue is still largely hot air. And national electorates can be very unpredictable.

Holland because it is the biggest non-German de facto guarantor and they are far in that process. But largely the same goes for Finnland and Austria. If the people take over there, the EU has a huge problem. The countries are smaller than the UK, but their EZ membership makes the EU very vulnerable.

That is why these countries are imho much more important to have as allies. Especially when their national politics start to move.

Same with nett payers btw. But Euro membership combined with unsatisfied voters is much bigger.

Freedom Lover said...

In a truly democratic world it would surely be clear to everyone that as long as the UK persists with its pointless membership of the EU that these constant, & frequently very irritating, ups & downs would just go on for ever & ever. The only way to free our country from this ridiculous charade is to invoke the Lisbon Treaty's Article 50 & negotiate our departure from the EU & in favour of the EEA/EFTA. And so free the UK from the endless EU roundabout.

Average Englishman said...

Cameron's idea that he will make any real changes to the EU is a fantasy anyway, so the fact that he has lost an ally in his quest for the holy grail of a reformed and democratic EU is largely irrelevant.

If the Socialist leaning Czechs feel the need to replace their membership of the old USSR with a deeper union with the EUSSR then that's their funeral. They will find out in time the error of their ways and in the meantime, their lack of support for Cameron will make the decision for the UK electorate to leave the clutches of Barroso and the rest a lot easier and more obvious.

In any event, as Rik says, it's Germany and the other countries with some money that really 'call the shots' in the EU anyway.

Rollo said...

We do not need an ally in EU. We need to get out of the EU. No point having friends and allies on a sinking ship.

Denis Cooper said...

If the ODS in the Czech Republic are so closely allied to Cameron, then why did he not come out in support of them in October 2011 when they publicly called for their country to be relieved of its present treaty obligation to join the euro?


"The ruling euro-sceptic ODS party in the Czech Republic wants to push for a referendum on the country's future eurozone accession, claiming that the rules have changed since 2003 when Czechs said yes to the EU and the euro.

The recent agreement on another bail-out for Greece and on boosting the eurozone's bailout fund is fuelling Czech calls for a referendum, said Czech MEP Jan Zahradil, leader of the European Conservatives and Reformists.

"We should allow non-eurozone members – such as my country the Czech Republic – to decide again whether they wish to enter. We signed up to a monetary union, not a transfer union or a bond union in our accession treaty. This is the major reason why the Czech Prime minister wishes to call the referendum on this matter," Zahradil said in a statement.

The Czech Republic, along with all other eastern European countries that joined the EU in 2004 and 2007, is obliged to adopt the euro once budget deficit and other economic conditions are met."

Why did Cameron remain silent?

Because not only was he committed to preserving intact the existing eurozone, he was and still is in favour of its expansion across the EU until eventually it would engulf the UK as well.

There is no other rational explanation.


Can we please give up this idea of "negotiating our way out of the EU"?

We have an unchsllengeable right to leave, let's just do it - and then negotiate from a stronger position our future relationship

anyoldiron said...

As long as people keep voting for any one of the Major three Political Parties that ALL want to remain in the EU-forever and especially in the next General Election in 2015, this Country will be forever in the EU. Please also note what is on the EU's agenda for AFTER that date-think there will be any chance of getting out of the EU then?

Since 1972/3 one of the three major Political Parties have been in Government, It is time for everyone that wants freedom from foreign rule to put their COUNTRY BEFORE THEIR POLITICAL PARTY AND VOTE FOR ANYONE THAT WANTS OUT OF THE EU. THIS MAY WELL BE THE LAST CHANCE THE PEOPLE MAY HAVE TO SET THEMSELVES FREE, AND WE CAN'T EVEN GO TO WAR TO FIGHT OUR WAY OUT-YOU KNOW THAT FOR TRUTH TOO.

christina speight said...

Mars Persson gives the game away. He talks of an "appetite for Reform growing across Europe ". He might be right but much of that Reform would be anathema to British people and would bring the USofE nearer. Cameron will ,NOT give us a referendum as Hollande has made it quite clear that no British demands will be considered. As long as Cameron remains as PM the Tories are lost.

So the only route is via Article 50 and Cameron won't give us that. CAMERON MUST GO.

anyoldiron and Idris Francis are right, Vote exclusively for those who want to get out and let the chips fall where they may

Anonymous said...

The Czech Republic will join the Euro alright. So will most other Continental countries. Just wait until the next global crisis rocks all those small economies. They will be queuing up to join the safe haven of the Euro. The emerging markets are already under pressure.

Vit said...

Open Europe: "...a shared economic liberalism..."

What the hell are you talking about? Couple of weeks ago, Cameron publicly declared that "Free movement within Europe needs to be less free".

The recent anti-immmigration rhetoric is not only seen as insult in the Czech Republic and elswere in the new member states. It also severely undermines the credibility of the UK as a "staunch supporter of economic liberalism".

Czech Socialists are not to be confused with French Socialists. Czech Socialists are much more pro market. They were supportive of the liberalisation of services (and clashed with their French colleagues). By the way, when we talk about the "liberalisation of the EU internal market" (the four freedoms). Simple question: Who is more affraid of the famous "Polish plumber"?? The French or the Brits? Where is the "shared economic liberalism"?? Sorry, I no longer consider the UK a "liberal country". The UK became a conservative, anti-immigration, isolationist country, pathetically dreaming about its past "grandeur" when it was a global power. I would expect that attitudes from the French and not from the supposedly "liberal" Brits.

Freedom Lover: "our departure from the EU & in favour of the EEA/EFTA"

Enjoy :-)) EFTA is dead, it has 4 members: Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Switzerland. WOW!!! What a huge market for British industry! EEA??? Enjoy :-)) EEA countries are forced to adopt all EU single market legislation without having access to the EU decision-making process (or very limited access).

IDRIS: "leave, let's just do it - and then negotiate from a stronger position our future relationship"

Oh my god... You really think that negotiations from without the EU would be easier than negotiations from within the EU??

Anonymous: "The Czech Republic will join the Euro alright."

I am in favour of eurozone membership, but I do not believe the Czech Rep. will join eurozone. Ever.

By the way, there are many people in the Czech Republic and elswhere in the continental Europe that really want the UK in the EU. Of course the EU will reform (more or less), sooner or later. But there is a growing sentiment that the UK is a "lost case". Regardless of whether the EU reforms or not, regardless of what the "friends of the UK" do, it will not satisfy the furious British public.

And, of course, please keep in mind, that outside of the EU, you are useless for us. By leaving the EU, you are not leaving "Brussels" behind. You are leaving Prague, Warsaw, Berlin, Helsinki, Paris. The BREXIT would first and foremost punish and harm your allies. If there are some allies left after Cameron's anti-liberal attack on the free movement.

Vit from Prague