Prime Minister David Cameron is set to attend this Friday’s crucial EU summit on the eurozone debt crisis, and is facing mounting pressure from his party to “rebalance” the UK’s relationship with the EU.
Though Germany and France want a new EU treaty, the Prime Minister has said that he will veto any proposals that do not protect British interests.
A time and a place
Lord Howard, a former Tory leader, has said that this is not the time for debating the UK’s interests, as the immediate focus is on helping the eurozone overcome its crippling debt crisis.
The crisis has affected global markets everywhere, with Brazil, China, and leaders in Africa calling for EU leaders to solve the debt problem because of its negative effects to developing economies.
Solving the problem looks to involve a restructuring of the 17 eurozone states to form a stronger fiscal union. Britsh MPs, particularly Tory leaders, say that this could have “big implications” for the future of Britain, and should be put to a referendum.
Conservative leader David Davis is calling for Cameron to reject any proposals to strike a strengthen the eurozone bloc without needing the approval of all 27 EU states. Changing “the balance of power” in Europe requires concensus from all countries and a referendum, Davis has said.
Taking it back
UK ministers are also calling for Cameron to use his position in Brussels to repatriate some powers back to Britain. Davis said that the summit marked an opportunity “to rewrite the future of Europe,” and that Britain should first and foremost be protected.
Ministers say Britain’s best interests lie in forcing a referendum if a new eurozone bloc is to be created, or if the UK is asked to sign a new EU treaty.
However, while Downing Street has said that any new treaty deals will need to go through Parliament, it feels there is no need for a UK referendum. The PM claims that any proposed changes would not involve much power shifting from London to Brussels.
Still, Cameron has promised MPs that he will ensure “safeguards” for the British financial services industry, and that he would “get a price” for UK support of an EU-wide treaty.
The Prime Minister said of negotiations: the more eurozone countries ask for, the more Britain will ask for in return.