Coffee House

David Cameron’s eurosceptic colleagues are pushing him to set out his renegotiation demands

27 June 2014

David Cameron has warned his European colleagues that there will be ‘consequences’ if they support Jean-Claude Juncker’s appointment today. He’s already seeing the consequences back home, with eurosceptics who are broadly supportive of his position still getting their advice out early on how he can deal with the disappointment of losing the battle. John Baron has today called for more detail from the Prime Minister on what he wants from the renegotiation. He said:

‘Having played the man, we now need to play the ball. We need greater clarity regarding out reform agenda in order to both better form alliances across the EU and convince a sceptical public at home that we are serious about reform.

‘Vague promises about ‘a better deal for Britain’ will no longer wash. One example needs to be reform of the ‘Freedom of Movement’ principle, which is now past its sell-by date given the EU has 28 members with disparate living standards and wages. Pressure on infrastructure requires action.’

It will be interesting to see how far Baron pushes his demand for clarity, and how easy he finds it to take colleagues with him. Many eurosceptics are keen for a little bit of silence on the matter of the renegotiation, for the simple reason that they think it better for the party to pull together until the general election and then really start to hammer the Prime Minister, if he’s still the Prime Minister, on the detail of his reform package. But Cameron may still be hoping that he can get enough of a ‘downpayment’ from Angela Merkel for the renegotiation as a consolation prize from the Juncker row that any clamour for further detail is satisfied.

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Show comments
  • Lucy Sky Diamonds
  • mariandavid

    Ignoring the emotionalism dripping around here – what interests me as a Canadian outsider is exactly what people think Britain will be able to do if it does leave the European Union. Obviously it will not have any favorite trade agreements with any country and (as has been pointed out here with reference to the wishes of an independent Scotland) it is exceedingly unlikely that it would be given any access in the immediate future.
    And lest some here think this speculative consider Canada, whom many would consider a good alternative trading partner. Unfortunately for that theory Canada is very, very close to completing a very broad trading deal with the EU, one almost as comprehensive, but carefully linked in with the North America Free Trade Agreement. Alas a separated Britain would face considerable tensions trading with Canada since I am sure the EU, if not the US, would monitor what happened, perhaps with the intent to formally block British options.

    • Lucy Sky Diamonds

      Control our borders. Canada is huge. Britain is small. Each country has its own needs, requirements and interests. You need to put yourself in our shoes. Iceland manages to negotiate free trade deals. Why shouldnt we?

      • mariandavid

        I am ignoring the ‘keep foreigners out’ issue as it is none of my business. But I am not sure that you are correct in the economic aspect. For example Iceland relies to a major extent on tourism (in British terms over 150 million visitors a year) and does suffer from not belonging to any of the major trading groups.
        And ‘bang you are out’ is exactly what happens in practice. You could expect immediate termination of all business access, all income and all benefits, especially since Cameron has managed to offend the leadership of almost all other EU members. Furthermore the judgement here is that very, very quickly all but British financial assets and institutions would transfer from London to Frankfurt. This by the way is not speculation but based on the premise of what would have happened here if Quebec had decided to leave Canada

    • Blindsideflanker

      The EU has just handed out trade agreements with Ukraine and Moldova. Moldova has a GDP of £5 billion. Some of our companies have half yearly profits bigger than that, and we have more people working in the NHS than they have as a total working population.

      Are you suggesting that the likes of Moldova can get a trade agreement but we can’t because we are too small?

      • mariandavid

        Yes – because of the emotionalism involved. I replied to another responder, comparing this with Canada/Quebec. Believe me in such cases (especially since Cameron’s public performance) economic arguments crash against irrational anger. And the Moldova/Ukraine are not formal trade agreements – they are initial ‘allowances’ created to anger Putin.

    • the viceroy’s gin

      Most all of Canada’s trade is with the US, along a very long land border, and it’s not really appropriate to compare that situation with the UK. It’s apples and oranges.

    • Raddiy

      As with Germany we have a trade deficit with Canada, importing 20% more from you than we export to you. Germany with whom we have a massive trade deficit in the multiple billions especially with their car manufacturers, would not put them at risk with tariffs. I would suggest to you that neither would Canada,

      Trade is trade as it was before the EU came into being, and as it will still be if the EU went out of existence tomorrow, it is naivety of the highest order to think otherwise.

      • mariandavid

        I think I would agree with you if the decision were merely between two sovereign states. Canada and the US had that sort of arrangement (it was called the Auto Pact) long before a Free Trade Agreement was made. But in this case Britain and Germany could not make the arrangement because an exception (in this case free trade for British goods to Germany in return for cars) is exactly what the EU was opposed to. Now maybe the EU members in their entirety would concur but after the flagellation by and dithering of the United Kingdom over the last decade I could easily see objection.
        After all the EU went on record as saying that an early deal with an independent Scotland was highly unlikely — depressingly I suspect that one with a Great Britain or a reduced Britain would take far longer.

  • Conway

    There will be consequences“? Is that the same as “we will not let matters rest”?

    • the viceroy’s gin

      Yes, and that’s a cast iron certainty, too.

  • Smithersjones2013

    Many eurosceptics are keen for a little bit of silence on the matter of
    the renegotiation, for the simple reason that they think it better for
    the party to pull together until the general election and then really
    start to hammer the Prime Minister, if he’s still the Prime Minister, on
    the detail of his reform package.

    The internecine warfare might as well start now because everybody in the political spectrum expects the Tories to go into meltdown over the EU should they win the election. Do they seriously think that people will vote for a broken, divided dysfunctional party that will go native the minute the election is over if they are re-elected?

  • dado_trunking

    One point is obvious: there is no point conversing further with those hardline Europhobes who want OUT. They ought and will not play any part in the debate about the transformation of the European setup, simply because they have nothing to bring to the table.

    • Smithersjones2013

      Ah yes that favourite of authoritarian ploys. Exclude all opinions which oppose your own. How very predictable……..

      • dado_trunking

        No, I playfully demonstrate that those wanting OUT cannot be serious about wanting to be a respected part in a reform debate.

        It’s similar to asking Catholics to rewrite the Koran. The UKIP loons need to back off now, and curiously they already have.

        • the viceroy’s gin

          …I see this sockpuppet is going full authoritarian socialist nutter, laddie, like your others.

          • dado_trunking

            Cameron removed the stigma of that authoritarian nuttery forever from the EU. Without his intervention today there would have been 100% authoritarian tyrannical support for the incumbent – Kim Jong Ill style. The European idea is therefore fully vindicated.

            • the viceroy’s gin

              …no, you’ve slipped back into incoherent gibberish, lad, another of your sockpuppet army’s afflictions.

    • Conway

      “One point is obvious: there is no point conversing further with those
      hardline Europhiles who want IN against the wishes of the people. They ought not and will not play any
      part in the debate about the transformation of the European setup,
      simply because they have nothing to bring to the table other than more of the same.” There, that’s fixed it for you.

      • dado_trunking

        rewriting the Koran are you, Jim?

        • the viceroy’s gin

          …how’s the goat, lad?

  • DaveTheRave

    Well first, patriots should be thinking tactically next May.
    The biggest disaster would be Labour getting back into power, so Tories and UKIP somehow need to work together.
    This country simply cannot take half a million net increase in population caused by compulsory immigration every year. That is utter madness.
    Get Tories reelected with UKIP support to get what we desperately need – exit from the USE.

    • Conway

      I’d prefer to get UKIP elected with a bit of Tory support (not that the Tories have been exactly enthusiastic about their euroscepticism, frankly). I do not see the Tories delivering us exit from the USE. You need to look at their record, not at what they say.

      • DaveTheRave

        I agree, in an ideal world, for me UKIP would win next May. Yet, let’s face it, for that to happen would be more than a political earthquake. But how glorious it would be! It would be the first domino to fall. The more of us believe, the more likely it could happen.

  • Tom M

    David Cameron, you are outclassed when it comes to Europe. Just as all your predecessors were. All went to Brussels with the express intention of sorting them out. All were humiliated. All belatedly found out to their (our) cost just what sort of machine they were up against.
    Even Maggie Thatcher wilted under the combined opposition when she fought for our rebat. Even that wasn’t quite as it seemed. Whilst she won the rebate she had to give in to pay (considerable) compensation from UK coffers where elsewhere that was paid from Commission coffers.

  • misomiso

    Only full control of our borders will do.

    Opt out of Freedom of Movement and a points system for immigration.

    • Conway

      Freedom of movement is integral to the project. It is non-negotiable. Out it is, then.

  • HookesLaw

    He made a speech about it at a Bloomberg Conference in January 2013 I think. Then he expansded on it earlier this year. There is no great secret about demands, but its not terribly clever to give away these things in advance.
    In broad terms Cameron has said he is opposed to ‘ever closer union’ – I would expect this to featrure in the next election manifesto and campaign.

    In the Telegraph he said what he wanted
    ‘Powers flowing away from Brussels, not always to it. National parliaments able to work together to block unwanted European legislation. Businesses liberated from red tape and benefiting from the strength of the EU’s own market – the biggest and wealthiest on the planet – to open up greater free trade with North America and Asia. Our police forces and justice systems able to protect British citizens, unencumbered by unnecessary interference from the European institutions, including the ECHR. Free movement to take up work, not free benefits. Support for the continued enlargement of the EU to new members but with new mechanisms in place to prevent vast migrations across the Continent.
    And dealing properly with the concept of “ever closer union”, enshrined in the treaty, to which every EU country now has to sign up. It may appeal to some countries. But it is not right for Britain, and we must ensure we are no longer subject to it.’

    The movement together by the Eurozone countries will mean we need a new relationship and if we have a tory govt we will get a vote on it.

    • Conway

      The movement together by the Eurozone countries will mean we need a new relationship and if we have a tory govt we will get a vote on it.” A whole Big Wing of porkers just flew past my window.

  • Donafugata

    What is this nonsense still about renegotiation?

    Any number of the EU politburo have unequivocally stated that there is no possibility of any negotiation whatsoever.
    Camoron needs to acknowledge this and offer a simple in/out referendum before next May, there is no excuse for postponing this any longer.

  • Blindsideflanker

    I believe Cameron did lay out his renegotiating position when he wrote…….

    Let’s end benefit tourism in Europe.

    Let’s make sure that the single market is properly safeguarded.

    Let’s make sure that parliaments can get together and block unwelcome proposals from the European Commission.

    Let’s make a series of changes to make Europe more flexible, more competitive.

    Perhaps the most important is getting Britain out of the clause that says the European Union must be committed to an ‘ever closer union’.

    Its a load of old nothing, where previous Conservative aims to bring back control over things like fishing have been dropped.

  • Denis_Cooper

    I realise that a large chunk of the adult population will have no direct memory of
    the events surrounding the Maastricht Treaty more than two decades ago, indeed
    I guess that the author of this article may have been in nappies then.

    And there aren’t many of the original reports of the time still around on the internet, but here is one:

    “Game, set, and match to Britain, says Prime Minister Major master stroke clinches an EC deal


    Wednesday 11 December 1991

    THE Maastricht Summit produced a historic treaty this morning, with the Prime Minister’s signature stamped firmly on it. ”It is game, set and match for Britain,” he said.”

    Then look down towards the bottom of that article:

    “On European Parliament powers, Mr Major made concessions but only on minor matters.”

    Eh, yes, before Maastricht the EU Parliament had absolutely nothing at all to do with the appointment of the members of the EU Commission and/or its President, that having always been the sole prerogative of the governments of the member states, with each having a veto; but one of those “minor” concessions made by Major was to grant the EU Parliament not only the right to be consulted on, but the power to veto, the appointments proposed by the governments.

  • Clarice Newone

    UK should leave the European Union

    • HookesLaw

      Are you a car worker?

      • Hugh1

        Did you say such tosh before we didn’t join the Euro?

      • terence patrick hewett

        Are you an engineer?

  • Denis_Cooper

    “But Cameron may still be hoping that he can get enough of a ‘downpayment’ from Angela Merkel for the renegotiation as a consolation prize from the Juncker row that any clamour for further detail is satisfied.”

    That idea was first mooted by the Tory traitor Major, who in actual fact bears more responsibility than anybody else for Cameron now being in the doo-dah.

    Why? Because from 1957 – 1995 the EU Parliament (or Assembly) had no role at all in the appointment of the EU Commission and its President, those decisions had always been in the exclusive province of the member state governments.

    And guess which deceitful treacherous Tory Prime Minister agreed that this should be changed and that henceforth the EU Parliament would not only have the right to be consulted about the appointments to the Commission, but would actually be able to veto whatever proposals were made by member states?

    Yes, that’s right, our heroic national champion Major, with his “Game, set and match for Britain” Maastricht Treaty; and then it was approved by almost all the Tory MPs at that time.

  • fathomwest

    Well this episode has proved that we cannot trust Merkel. She is a liar and as such should never be invited to this country again. Similarily I hope Cameron speaks, privately, to all those that promised him their support and tells them we cannot trust them again. You cannot do business with people you cannot trust. Sod em all.
    I agree with Gordon Brown. Cameron should call a referendum on membership this year on a matter of principle. That will create havoc within the EU.

  • Ivorschwartzporsche

    We could be underhand and start a petition on the Number 10 petition site.
    ‘To Replace The EUropean Union Flag With The British Union Flag On British And NI Driving Licences’
    It would be subtle but more importantly, it undermines the EUphile aims causing them deep distress.

    • Wessex Man

      Or we could just tell them to **** ***!

  • ButcombeMan

    Correct and these matters should be set out as “Proposals for EU reform”. Tightly argued, published and widely circulated.

    They should deal with proposals for alterations that also might suit some other nations as well.. The aim should be to get the peoples of other nations talking about reform. The long term social consequences of not reforming need to be spelled out.

    Cameron’s problem is that he has no stomach for the fight, little or no leadership skills and is most likely just too lazy to do what has to be done.

  • John Moss

    No 1 needs to be no access to welfare, free healthcare or free education for EU migrants for 12 months.

    • the viceroy’s gin

      12 months?

      You’re being rather generous, aren’t you?

    • Smithersjones2013

      Number 1 needs to be the imposition of immigration quotas on all EU nations.

      • Conway

        Number 1 needs to be invoking Article 50. The time has come to admit the truth; we do not belong in this juggernaut heading for a USE.

  • CharlietheChump

    Merkel has responded to pressure from within her own coalition, don’t expect any help from her.

    • spen68

      Yes but she also feels the pressure of losing the UK from the EU.. Our contributions, our free trade view of the world to offset the Latins.. She needs us to stay.

      • Andy

        Well the stupid b**** is going about it the wrong way. I have come to the conculsion that she actually wants the UK to leave so she can have her Fourth Reich.

        • the viceroy’s gin

          No, she’s going about it the exact right way. Call Me Dave will roll over, as ever. He wants what Germany wants.

        • David

          I honestly doubt that – she is the least Francophile German Chancellor in a generation. She grew up under communism, remember?

          Trouble is, she didn’t do so well in her recent elections and is now under the thumb from Germany’s centrist ‘Lib Dem’ equivalent party. So Dave knows how she must feel!

          Once again, we have pro-EU nutter Liberals running the show, despite not getting many seats. A tyranny of the minority, basically.

      • Conway

        She thinks, however, that we shall never have the cojones to leave. With Dave in charge, she is, of course, exactly right. That is why we need complete change next May.

        • Liberty

          What to, Labour? or Labour and the LDs? UKIP will no get an MP let alone the balance of power.

          • the viceroy’s gin

            They’ll dominate the election, whatever the outcome.

  • lakelander

    Telling – and depressing – that it is now generally accepted that Merkel is the default dispenser of favours. Was the EU meant to be the new German Empire?

    • Andy

      Merkel the Liar ? Cameron has found himself in this position because he trusted the word of that lying b****. Well now he knows better. Never trust a German. And now we have the Fourth Reich. Heil Merkel.

      • George_Arseborne

        Cameron is just a fool. Easily manipulated by Merkel, his backbenchers and UKIP.

        • Kitty MLB

          Cameron is a decent man who trusts the integrity of others…maybe too trusting.
          Angela Merkell, she just is a lady with a plan,
          Cameron needs all his wits about him.

          • Blindsideflanker

            It seems the Cameron didn’t learn anything from his time as an advisor in the Treasury when the Germans stitched up Major on the ERM.

          • HookesLaw

            You are right – Cameron is playing a straight bat on the EU and in the end it will be down to the rest of the EU if they want us in. From an economic point of view we need to be in the single market and it may depend on just what the terms are if we agree – we surely do not want to be in Schengen. But as the Eurozone grows closer together it seems inevitable to me we will be some sort of associate member.
            But it depends if the tories are elected. If Labour get in then of course we will likely get closer not more distant.

            • the viceroy’s gin

              Well you socialists want to get closer, so you’re good there.

        • southerner

          Quite right. And the Camerloons (some of whom post on here) fall for Dave’s obvious (to anyone with an ounce of brain) spin every time. Will they ever learn?
          There was never any prospect of him winning but if he had he’d have been chaired high by the Camerloons. Now he has been humiliated they still hoist him aloft because he has been “principled”. And the friendly media play along with it. Thankfully the public are rather more savvy than they give us credit for and Dave’s head will be on a spike next May thank goodness.

          • Kitty MLB

            The electorate when they know Cameron is
            up against the might of the EU, the Labour Party, the Leftie establishment and battling
            for what is right will be fully behind Cameron.
            You just want him to fail because you cannot
            put your differences aside for the UK and
            you want it to be all about UKIP.
            But unfortunately, everything will not stop
            and wait for UKIP to ‘grow as a party’ as
            Nigel Farage eloquently puts it.

            • southerner

              I’m not a Kippper as I think I have told you and Hooky half a dozen times. And Cameron is not up against the “leftie establishment”. He is a central part of the leftie establishment. That’s what infuriates true conservatives.

              • HookesLaw

                You talk like a duck and walk mlike a duck. Your obsession with everyone who does not do the goosestep being a socialist is pathetic.

                • southerner

                  Boo hoo. Your boy lost. Again. Get used to it.

                • HookesLaw

                  You are the loser if we do not get a referendum in 2017, But thinking straight never seems to be your forte.

                • echo34

                  Hooky, you are such a child.

            • Wessex Man

              hur hur hur, whats the only political party whose membership is still climbing when all and it is all other UK’s are falling?

            • Conway

              The electorate, if they read the papers, will know that Cameron has said that he wants us to remain in the EU. Many people who gave him the benefit of the doubt and voted for him to get rid of Gordon Brown, are now completely disillusioned and won’t be fooled again. The Party has haemorrhaged members because of Cameron’s actions and the fact he has insulted them left, right and centre.

        • HookesLaw

          What a terribly objective view.

    • Smithersjones2013

      Have you never heard of the 4th Reich?

    • DaveTheRave

      It already is effectively a German led federation.
      Look how German industry broke the rules it set itself in regard to Euro so it could sell its products to Greece, Italy, Spain, Portugal… and then complain about having to bale out those same countries it put in debt in the first place!
      Free trade replaced by financial tyranny.
      Churchill knew it and it still applies now. Our place does not lie in what should be a Franco-German alliance. England should be free to trade with the world.
      Where is our leader now?
      Where is our leader now?
      Oh where is our leader now..?

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