Coffee House

Europe Minister won’t give renegotiation specifics

27 January 2013

There’s ‘no secret plot to get Britain out of the EU’ declared David Lidington on the Sunday Politics. In an interview with Andrew Neil, the Europe Minister was determinedly vague on the issue of what powers the next Conservative manifesto will seek a mandate to repatriate. But he made clear that the free movement of people is not going to be part of the renegotiation nor will Britain seek the right to strike its own trade deals with other countries.

Having given the speech, David Cameron and his team don’t want to give a running commentary on what they might or might not seek to change about Britain’s terms of EU membership. Indeed, I suspect that they would like to go into the next election seeking as vague as possible a mandate. They have no desire to set out any kind of renegotiation scorecard or to say anything that would prompt Berlin to publicly say ‘nein’ to renegotiation. The question is, though, whether events will force them to be more specific.

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  • paulus

    Yes, we must wait and see, its idiotic to think cameron would renage of a referendum. The EU now needs to evolve from the status quo that it has arrived at. This is a journey we will not be making with them as Cameron has said :we are different our culture, history & attitude are different.To that we all agree on.

    One thing is for sure we will have to have some form of relationship with the evolving EU. If the world is moving to a bloc geo- political situation, the Europes financial centre is in London and thats where it will stay, we are not Norway, any diminuation or loss of this to Europe would represent the World passing them by.

    Threats from Belgian bureaucrats are ludicrous and the Germans know it. We are
    not going to be intimidated by comical threats and blusters.

    Old phoney himself picked up his banjo and offered his idiotic analysis of a safe and secure world order, needless to say its a guaranteed receipe for conflict. the world must be open and integrated, Europe must stop being introspective and seek a channel to trade with all corners of the Earth and that channel is the United Kingdom, who have the history culture and memory of global free trade.

    The Euro model is moribund and becoming increasingly defunct, we cannot be tied to this no longer. The germans know it, and increasingly realise that the destination we offer is one that fits their needs and the wishes of their people, even if their elites are still cowering with a guilt that died long ago.

    We must accept that Germany will dominate the continent and engage in real politic, we have proped up the French like a drunken old tart at a bar long after she has lost her legs, a ludicrous escapade in Mali chasing bandits doesnt mask the fact that the French are irrelevent, there seat at the UN must go to the new E.U, it cannot be justified any longer.

    The seat for the United Kingdom would not be justified unless a serious attempt to act and integrate the anglosphere into a coherent block. The Germans and the British in conjunction with ties and trade to all parts of the world is the best hope for the peoples of Europe to have a real and significant say in the coming decades.

  • ScaryBiscuits

    Of course there’s ‘no secret plot to get Britain out of the EU’. There’s one to keep us in no matter what voters think.

  • Daniel Maris

    Well this just shows how misguided is Cameron’s attempt at deceit. Does he really think he can fail to answer this question for the next 5 years. He and his minions will be asked it time and time again and every time they fail to answer they will appear, weak, frit and underhand.

    • Noa


  • IanH

    Does nobody pay attention. The Foreign & Commenwealth Office is doing a line by line audit of the EU to identify those part which should be considered for re0negotiation

    • Hexhamgeezer

      Interesting. A line by line audit of what exactly (which documents)? `Would be interested to know (or point out the source).

      The FCO, of course, are the absolute last organisation who should be tasked with such an audit.

    • Daniel Maris

      …and I bet they’ve been told: “No rush, guys. Take your time.” I mean that job should take about 4 working days maximum. Whereas we know it’s going to take about 4 years.

    • Rhoda Klapp2

      One wonders, if they are doing their job properly, WHY DON’T THEY BLOODY KNOW ALREADY?

  • Terrence Henderson

    He know not the easy question’s “Yes” Or “No”. Hang on the Law lords will have to deliberate for a set of questions that Cameron, nor the people will know the answers too.

    Where is Goldilocks and the cheap sold police horse that was too hard a ride for Cameron..OK we all know it was her wooden horse in Murdochs bedroom he was gripping tight. Seems the real horse was sold for hamburgers at shops that pensioners and the unemployed can afford.

  • David Lindsay

    For specifics, you need Ed Miliband, who has called explicitly for the repatriation of industrial and regional policy, and whose party is also at least implicitly committed to the repatriation of agriculture and fisheries.

    Still, David Cameron only had to say the word “referendum” (he said absolutely nothing else), and UKIP support dropped by four points in as many days. It is all a sideshow, though. Neither of them is going to win in 2015. The stand as much chance as each other.

    • Fergus Pickering

      HOW is he going to repatriate agriculture and fisheries? Just by asking nicely? You would think Labour politicians would know something about negotiation. To negotiate you need a big stick. Unions call it STRIKING.. If you ask nicely you get told to eff off in short order.

  • RKing

    Us little people are just cannon fodder for big buisiness, who are to be “consulted” over what THEY want in the renegotiations.

    As Colonel Mustard wrote in another post:-
    “No surprise when we have Greek property tycoons, Russian football club
    owners and French owned utility companies. We might as well be an
    occupied nation – in some senses we are.”

  • the viceroy’s gin

    The Cameroons’ political incompetence is breathtaking.

    They can only offend. It is their only operating mode.

    They MUST be out coalescing support right now, yet they overtly drive it off.

    It is just breathtaking, the stupidity. You really must stand in awe of this. Such sheer political incompetence only happens along rarely. Policy incompetence? Sure, that’s common, and unworthy of comment even, it’s so common. But to comprehensively DRIVE OFF POLITICAL SUPPORT?

    It is time to write this crew off. Make plans and get to the next phase, because this one’s days are truly numbered. Nobody this stupid should be allowed in government, and it’s just a matter of waiting for the electorate to act on that judgment, now.

    • Russell

      I think you are right, and a lot of lifelong Conservative voters like myself will bite the bullet, vote UKIP, and let Miliband & labour get into power again. Knowing they will continue to screw up this once great country again and drag us further into the mire seems to be the only way the electorate will learn never to vote labour again, and ensure the tories in future carry out conservative policies when they get back into power in 2020.

  • Noa

    So three days after Cameron’s epoch defiining pronouncement we know that, subject to Merkel’s blessing, the Bulgarians, Roumanians and Turks will all still be be heading our way and that our trading interests will be managed by the lumpen Cathy Ashton, .

    The Conservatives have cooked their goose and will stew in its juices until 2015.

    • telemaque

      Hear this from an influential think tank.
      “the arrival of employees form Bulgaria and Romania would have positive influence on the UK labor market, helping to fill skills shortages, boosting productivity and creating new taxpayers. ”
      Further your mention of the Turks is a dis ingenuous attempt to insert Islamophobia into the debate.

      • Colonel Mustard

        Hear this which your carefully selected soundbite tagged to the top post missed (and note the spelling of “labor” by this “influential think tank”):-

        “However, some negative implications could also occur in UK economy and labor market including:

        • Firstly, the worrying result of the new arrivals has exposed some of the weaknesses of the British workforce. Significant number of jobs has been occupied by skilled Eastern European workers leaving untrained UK workers unemployed. According to Work Permit (2006) ”It (immigration) raises issues about how well the education system is preparing UK students for the jobs that are available in the real world.” The problem of unskilled domestic labor could be temporarily solved with the arrival of a few thousands migrants from Bulgaria and Romania. However, the economy could result in reduction in competitiveness and increase of unemployment in the longer term if the problem is going to remain unsolved.

        • Secondly, Work Permit (2006) considers that: “The flipside of the new workers’ beneficial impact on inflation is that wages are probably growing more slowly than they would otherwise have done.” Although lower wages could be considered as an advantage due to reduce in interest rates, there could be a decrease in income and, as a result, lower level of life.

        • Thirdly, Bulgaria and Romania could cause significant pressure on infrastructure, including NHS, housing, resources, and schooling. According to the Shadow Home Secretary (2006), the previous EU enlargement: ” … has not only placed great strain on our housing and public service infrastructure – it has also resulted in thousands of immigrants entering the country only to fall into a life of squalor.”

        • Finally, while assessing the impact of Bulgarian and Romanian migration, Work Permit (2006) indicated, that: “Workers have been attracted to the United Kingdom by the rapid rate of job creation in the economy.” Therefore, the recession in the British economy could lead Bulgarian and Romanian workers to search for employment elsewhere, leading to increased unemployment and further recession.

        In conclusion, looking at Britain’s labor market as a whole, with high and stable economy growth and investment, increased workforce, low unemployment rates and low interest rates, the arrival of employees form Bulgaria and Romania would have positive influence on the UK labor market, helping to fill skills shortages, boosting productivity and creating new taxpayers. Nevertheless, for British workers who would remain unemployed while Eastern Europeans would enter Great Britain to acquire new jobs, the implications could be rather different. The rise in unemployment rate among UK residents as well as decrease in wages and negative influence on infrastructure could lead to recession in the economy and decrease in the level of living.”

        • telemaque

          The point Nico is that it is not all woe

        • dalai guevara

          Colonel, with all due respect

          – Firstly, we need to finally spend some brain matter on educating the underclass, let’s not just talk ‘free schools’ on here as if it was our saviour, a tiered system of vocational training of first world standard is not on offer in the UK. Set it up.

          -Secondly, the influx of immigration is not the CAUSE of wage stagnation. It is the economy that is stagnant, and the only way many business leaders can keep securing profitability is by lowering the wages, which they offer to those who will work for them without flinching. Because someone who grumbles is not good for your business, Colonel. An army man should no that grumbling is not tolerated.

          – Thirdly, the R&B projections will have little affect on ‘no jobs Britain’. Yes, there are scroungers – everywhere, in Portugal, in Spain, in Germany, in Britain. They are a set number of people (quite a high level in our indigenous population, or will we call them Irish now?), the rest leave their home nations TO WORK. If the number of housing units provided is no longer adequate, then guess what – build some council houses, it’s not a revolutionary new idea. The revolutionary new idea today is to just pay Rigsby’s in London the rates they demand for their dismal ‘sheds with beds’. My nan would say: this is lazy!

          All points you list point out one fact: our education system lags behind, our underclass set in their ways needs sorting out, our ideal of maximising rent seeking profits must be curtailed for the benefit of all in society, not just the 1%. If Bulgaria and Romania will bring Britain to its knees economically, then gosh are toes must be hurting already…

  • Russell

    Lidington sounded totally clueless about our EU membership. Why on earth taxpayers have to pay this clown a large amount of their money is beyond me.

    I could have put forward at least good arguments as to why re-negotiation or leaving is on the agenda, such as immigration, UK annual net contribution of £10billion net being ridiculous for ‘a seat at the table’, the UK fishing Industry, the UK farming Industry, Business regulations, Interference and overruling UK laws.
    No need to specify line by line what has to change, but at least an indication of where things have to change to avoid the UK leaving, pointing out the EU having a shortfall of £10billion per year and taxes being applied to all EU exports to the UK (if the EU considers anything similar to our exports).

    • Noa

      Do you think Cameron has put a doughty, independent patriot into this role, or his placeman?

      • Russell

        An idiot.

    • dalai guevara

      Tax threat – did you really say that?

      You will not be able to afford your next Beamer, nor any replacement parts for those broadsheet printers in Berliner Format, nor any medical consumables. In fact, we would end up turning into the Greece of Northern Europe in less than a decade. But it does not stop there – then we would return to digging up coal in Wales, as -unlike Greece- the winters can be rather chilly here.

      • Colonel Mustard

        Dig up coal? Be still my beating heart. Cheap warmth, smog, lovely black, grimy buildings and everyone in drab raincoats coughing and wheezing. It will be just like the 50s again – wonderful.

        • dalai guevara

          someone is beginning to think it through…

        • Fergus Pickering

          My brother worked in a pit in Scotland in the 1960s. I thought it was pick and shovel stuff having read mt Orwell. But no. A miner sat on top of a huge machine and presto – coal. Money for old rope he said.

  • chudsmania

    ‘But he made clear that the free movement of people is not going to be
    part of the renegotiation nor will Britain seek the right to strike its
    own trade deals with other countries’ Thats two absolute fundamentals , more votes going UKIP’s way then.

    • dalai guevara

      yes, restrict movement and devalue – what jolly times lie ahead if you got your way.

      • Colonel Mustard

        Come on, “free movement” was never meant to be mass immigration to rub our noses in diversity and cynical, exploitative benefits tourism funded by us, the taxpayers! ‘Free movement’ of the type we have experienced is anything but ‘free’. It costs rather a lot and in more than just money.

        Just as the Euro is a busted flush because one size can never fit all, so is this ‘free movement’ ridiculous (and damaging) when EU countries are not all level playing fields. If I could pop over to Romania and enjoy the same quality of life, access to services and rule of law that I expect here then it might just work. But it is not like that. No surprise that impoverished Romanians should wish to come here in droves to sign on and you can’t blame them. But you might expect the bloody politicians responsible to come up with something better than ‘build more houses, build more debt, cut pensions and raise taxes to pay for it all’. That’s just cowardice.

        • dalai guevara

          Come on, we must return to reality.
          We are not in Schengen.
          We have our own immigration policy, no one dictates our immigration policy, we set it.

          Some Eastern Europeans are going to turn up to take the zero jobs that are available right now? Come on, what jobs? A decade ago, the Polish came and finally gave YOU the mixer tap (what an invention!) and the dual flush toilet (you still haven’t got a water meter?), and you are now ungrateful? You BEGGED them to fit those mixer taps, as the indigeous plumbers at the time COULD NOT BE BOTHERED to turn up. Ok I see, you clearly never employed a builder…

          So what is this all about? It’s a boom and bust issue. In a boom we WANT the mixer taps, in a bust we WANT the fitters to bugger off home.
          That’s just cowardice.

          • Colonel Mustard

            That’s a silly response and does not address the points I made. It is also impudent in presuming rather a lot about my personal aspirations. If you keep dancing from one pinhead called immigration to another pinhead called ‘free movement’ in order to dodge the issues we’ll never get anywhere. Best you go and hide behind the curtain and continue to pretend this will cause no problems.

            • dalai guevara

              Let’s be clear – I am not assuming anything about you personally, I am painting a scenario. The reason for the use of the second person singular pronoun is to draw you into the scenario, not to personally accuse you of anything.

              Anyone equating free movement with immigration -this occurs more often than you think- needs their head examining. You cannot be serious if you were to call into question the Treaty of Rome…restrictions are never the answer, they are in essence ‘last stage communist’ in outcome.

              • Colonel Mustard

                You can have the last word, I know you like to. But to draw such a distinction between ‘immigration’ and ‘free movement’ is the deceit being practiced by politicians. This is not just about trendy professionals going where the money is and enjoying pavement café lifestyles.

                • dalai guevara

                  So you are now also the moderating ‘speaker’ on here deciding when discussion has to stop? If you feel like you need to retire, don’t blame me for not being a Menshevik. I give you the last word…

          • Fergus Pickering

            What are you talking about. We recently ad a builder in, splendid fellow and English to the backbone. Similarly, an electrician and a plasterer, both English. Is it only in East Kent that we are so blessed?

  • Rhoda Klapp2

    I hope people keep asking. Do they really think they can leave the question unanswered and get away with it? Open goal for Labour. Again.

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