Join Date: 08.03.2005
Butting Heads on the EU Budget: Merkel and Cameron Deadlocked ahead of Summit
Will British Prime Minister David Cameron veto the EU budget plan? Chancellor Angela Merkel flew to London on Wednesday night in an effort to convince him not to. It appears unlikely that she succeeded, setting the stage for a showdown at the EU summit later this month.
Join Date: 16.10.2012
Nothing to negotiate
I think that Germany and Europe are seriously misunderstanding British sentiment towards the EU.
Britain has always had its eurosceptics but they have always been in the minority. For many years there has been about one third of the population against the EU and another third fully supporting it. The remaining third have sat in the middle of the argument and supported maintaining the status quo. This latter third has always carried the day because it is essentially the middle ground between the eurosceptics and the europhiles.
This dynamic has changed dramatically since the signing of the Maastricht treaty. This treaty signalled the beginning of a drive for further EU integration and essentially destroyed the middle ground in British public opinion. Public opinion is now two thirds against the EU and only a third supporting it. The continuing debt crisis in the eurozone and the absence of a clear solution is driving more people to support the europhile position on a daily basis.
It is no longer socially acceptable in Britain to support the EU and to do so is to invite derision. It is no longer the politicians or the newspapers driving British public opinion but the other way around. The next general election in 2015 will almost certainly be decided on the european issue and that has politicians scambling to find a new middle ground which increasingly does not exist. Newspapers with pro EU editorial policies face a fall off in circulation numbers at a time when their profitability is threatened by the advent of digital media. For a newspaper to openly support the EU in Britain is akin to commercial suicide.
Against this backdrop, David Cameron's hands are tied. He can negotiate for a cut in the EU budget but not for an increase. To do so would be political suicide for him. The British parliament would be unlikely to support an increase in EU spending even if one was negotiated.