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Friday, June 27, 2014

Post-Juncker press conference round-up

We have been following the post-summit press conferences of EU leaders. Here is a round-up of the highlights, starting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel:

In his press conference, David Cameron took his defeat on the chin but noted that it would make his reform strategy harder:
“Today’s outcome is not the one I wanted. And it makes it harder, and the stakes higher…This is going to be a long, tough fight and sometimes you have to be ready to lose a battle to win a war. It has only stiffened my resolve to fight for reform in the EU, because it is crying out for it.”
Cameron was asked whether much more of this kind of thing would prompt him to recommend an ‘Out’ vote in a referendum. He declined the offer but did make the point that:
“And at the end of 2017, it will not be me, it will not be the House of Commons, it won’t be Brussels who decide about Britain’s future in the European Union. It will be the British people. It will be their choice, and their choice alone.”
He also pointed to the paragraph in the Council conclusions dedicated to the UK:
1. The UK raised some concerns related to the future development of the EU. These concerns will need to be addressed.  
In this context, the European Council noted that the concept of ever closer union allows for different paths of integration for different countries, allowing those that want to deepen integration to move ahead, while respecting the wish of those who do not want to deepen any further.  
Once the new European Commission is effectively in place, the European Council will consider the process for the appointment of the President of the European Commission for the future, respecting the European Treaties.
Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi was particularly keen to claim victory on a more 'flexible' application of EU fiscal rules. Van Rompuy’s agenda for the next European Commission is “very very very good on substance. For the first time, the focus is on growth. Insisting on growth is a turning point for Europe,” he said.
“Those countries who implement structural reforms have the right to greater flexibility, which is the most important political point for us.”
Renzi also touched on other EU top jobs, and made clear that:
    “The name of [former Italian Prime Minister] Enrico Letta for European Council Presidency has never been made”
As for French President François Hollande, he tried to wrap his battle for looser EU fiscal rules into a European flag:
    “I did not intervene only to defend France. When I evoke the flexibility in the margins of the Stability Pact [EU fiscal rules], I defend a conception of Europe.” 
And as regards the next European Commission, he said France wants “an organisation around big Vice-Presidencies. I will demand a Vice-Presidency for France.”

Read our take on what Cameron's defeat means for the reform agenda here.


Anonymous said...

The EU is a joke.
How come there are still people who want to vote in European elections?

The statements that Italy got what it wanted and that no rules were changed seem conflicting, but to tell you the truth I can't be bothered to have interest in those clowns' tricks any more.
Now I just hope the house of cards go down as soon as possible.

Rik said...

At the end of the day it means that Europe can overrule British sovereignity on important issues.
Which is simply unacceptable for a large majority of the UK population.

Will depend if and how this is made clear to the UK electorate. You donot have to be a rocketscientist to understand that it gives Farage a golden opportunity to put the next eelctioncampaign in another gear. To good an opportunity to be missed.

On the other hand it doesnot have to be a negative for Cameron. As long as he can clearly show to the electorate that he is the best man to deal with the EU issue (the fact that htere is in way sufficient platform for a sustainable EU-UK relation in its present form).

He needs to increase his credibility for that. Likely going considerably more and continuously confrontational with the EU will do that. Better timing (more on thins that he is likely to win, or gives like this one the EU an awful press. Saw one poll 20/80 for current and simply appoint guys that are up to the job (and no political backroom deals).

Present policy looks way too soft and on top of that confirms in the eyes of many (often potential voters) that he is not fully credible.

Cameron should probably, like say Osborne, make clear that the EU has to reform or it will very likely mean a Brexit. This would better fit in the 'new pícture'.
Looks also much more in line with the electorate's views. They want substantial reforms or the highway.

Anyway hard to see that a credible reform-or-Brexit-Dave would not be a (much) better proposition than an 'exit-when-we-get-into-power-but-we-never-will-Nigel'. On top of bringing flip-flop-Ed in no 10.
In national elections people in general vote very rational (and often tactical).
A deal with IP might as well be an option. Seen from IPs raison d'étre a reform or revised relationship is as good as it gets.
Hard to see why so many are against a deal with IP. At the end of the day the box with fleas has been opened and it is for the Conservatives to move closer to its voterbase or becoming a much smaller party. In its present form the Tories simply donot represent its voters views. A recipe that only works when there are no alternatives. Going for tactical voting is a damage limitation solution and in no way the definite answer to the IP challenge.

Anonymous said...

I'm not a UKIP supporter but Farage is right. The future of the EU will be whatever Frau Merkel decides it will be and all the other countries will fall into line. I am stunned by the dishonesty of the other leaders. Juncker himself is a 3rd rate diehard federalist who has worked all his career to establish a United States of Europe - and is even prepared to lie to achieve it..or better still "discuss this in secret…" because we really can't trust the common people to vote correctly. What breath-taking arrogance. This man is not a democratic. Get out now before it's too late!

Average Englishman said...

Lots of huff and puff from Dave. The man deserves an Oscar but not my vote.
Dave is pro EU and whilst he may posture and make some noise and ruffle a few feathers in Brussels, when it comes down to it he doesn't want the UK to leave the EU and will do what it takes to ensure that the UK stays in. To say he lacks credibility is an understatement.
If Dave really wanted to use a threatened Brexit for leverage he would have already actioned the relevant treaty article in preparation for it. Nothing else will be taken seriously by the EU commissars and the other European leaders. When Dave does that, I'll start listening to him but it will never happen. The Conservative Party will have to change leadership and put a proper Eursceptic in charge who will lead the UK out of Europe before they will be taken seriously on this issue. Meanwhile, it's just a game of charades to me.
UKIP is in it for the long haul and whilst the party may not have direct clout in the UK Parliament yet, it will in due course. There can be no grubby deals with the Conservative Party or anyone else based upon promises of 'jam tomorrow'. Far better to stick with policy and keep at it with or without promises of a referendum this year, next year, sometime never. The more the UK voters understand the EU, the more unwanted immigrants that come into the UK, the stronger the push for a UK exit will become. UKIP only needs to make sure that the young understand what is really happening and the future of the UK as a nation state is secure; it is only a matter of time.