Messier and Messier

by Andrew Stuttaford

And now for the next chapter:

Via the Daily Telegraph: 

The German Chancellor will demand British support for treaty changes to allow greater intervention in national economies – powers she says are vital to stem the crisis engulfing Europe’s core.

And that’s going to present David Cameron with quite a problem. Treaty changes require the approval of all 27 EU member states. As a result, Merkel’s “demand” represents an ideal opportunity for Cameron to insist in return on the repatriation of a wide range of powers and competences from Brussels, something that would also require the approval of all other member states. Given the structure and politics of the EU, the prospects of such repatriation have always been remote, to say the least, which is the reason why so many euroskeptics see talk of it as little more than a fine-sounding distraction deliberately engineered to keep them quiet. Nevertheless, if Cameron does throw away the leverage that the euro-crisis has given him, the chances of any repatriation will be zero, and he will be, deservedly, in deep trouble with a Conservative party that already has every reason not to believe a word that its leader has to say on the subject of the EU.

On the other hand, if Cameron stands firm, he will be accused (nonsensically) of holding the global financial system hostage,

So what will happen? Well, on the one hand we have Angela Merkel, a tough authoritarian schooled in East German ways and, on the other, we have a hopelessly outclassed former PR man with a weakness for bien pensant approval. Take your pick.

That mismatch probably explains this (from a different Daily Telegraph report today): 

Senior government officials confirmed that they had dropped a previous demand that EU powers should be “repatriated” to Britain in return for the treaty changes requested by Germany, a move that will anger Conservative MPs.

“I don’t think that anyone is seriously proposing going down that route,” a senior government source said.

Really? Well, if that’s true, it will be time to start wondering whether Cameron might end up as yet another European prime minister broken by the euro’s implosion.

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