EU Treaty: Cameron’s Veto Means Trouble from Ministers

Cameron's insistence that London be exempt from financial reforms led to EU nations forming a separate accord.

Cameron’s insistence that London be exempt from financial reforms led to EU nations forming a separate accord.

Though many of his own MPs have welcomed Prime Minister David Cameron’s decision to veto changes to an EU treaty, some Labour and Liberal Democrat MPs have voiced concern that the move will isolate the UK from wider Europe.

On Sunday, Cameron’s own deputy PM called the move “bad for Britain,” as it means up to 26 countries – including all of the eurozone – will sign a treaty for economic cooperation.

Many fear that this means Britain will be left out on the fringes of Europe, instead of maintaining its role as a major player.

Commons statement

Downing Street has confirmed that Cameron will give an account today of the decisions he made while at the crucial summit meeting in Brussels. Details will come at 1530 GMT in his Commons statement.

There, Labour leader Ed Milliband is expected to accuse the PM of failing to protect the UK financial sector.

Cameron and Chancellor George Osborne, however, say that the veto was used specifically to protect the powerful City of London financial sector, which would have been subject to financial transaction levies and regulations.

They argue that the new treaty would mean excessive intervention from Europe into the financial affairs of sovereign Britain.

Labour and the UK Independence Party argue that despite this logic, no additional safeguards for Britain were achieved during the Brussels summit.

Since the move required yes votes from all 27 European Union states to pass, Britain’s veto blocked all changes to the EU’s Lisbon Treaty.

It now seems that without the approval of Britain, all 26 other members of the EU will agree to a new “accord” in a separate treaty.

New rules

The new treaty, which will be an agreement between governments and not an official European Union undertaking, features strict budgetary rules for all participating governments.

Among the new rules are a cap of 0.5% of GDP on countries’ annual deficits.

There will also be automatic sanctions for countries who have deficits exceeding 3% of GDP.

Another rule, which French President Nicolas Sarkozy previously said he would never agree to, is that all participants in the treaty must send their national budgets to the European Commission.

Leaders in Brussels would then have the power to request a revised budget if necessary.

These measures have been undertaken to solve the eurozone crisis, but a slow reaction from the market bodes ill for the new treaty’s ability to restore order and stability to the debt-stricken bloc.


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