EU veto: Cameron says he negotiated in 'good faith'


David Cameron: ''Satisfactory safeguards were not forthcoming and so I did not agree to the treaty''

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David Cameron has said he "genuinely looked to reach an agreement" at the EU summit but vetoed treaty change because it was not in the national interest.

Mr Cameron told MPs he negotiated in "good faith" and his demands were "modest, reasonable and relevant".

The prime minister said he used the veto as he did not secure "sufficient safeguards" on financial regulation.

His pro-European Deputy PM Nick Clegg, decided not to take his usual place alongside the PM in the Commons.

Labour leader Ed Miliband questioned why Mr Clegg was not in the Commons, saying the PM could "not even persuade" his deputy of the merits of his actions.

'National interest'

The statement began with Labour MPs shouting "where's Clegg" - and later during the statement Tory backbencher Nadine Dorries accused the Lib Dem leader of "cowardice" while a succession of Labour MPs asked the PM if he knew where Mr Clegg was.

After the Commons statement Mr Clegg told reporters that everyone knew he and prime minister disagreed on the outcome of the summit: "I would have been a distraction if I was there."

He added: "Being isolated as one is potentially bad for jobs, bad for growth, bad for the livelihoods of millions of people in this country, but the coalition government is here to stay."

Nick Clegg: "Being isolated as one is potentially bad... but the coalition government is here to stay."

Giving an account of the decisions he took in Brussels in Friday, Mr Cameron insisted he had agreed his negotiating stance with his Lib Dem partners before the summit and the two parties had to "put aside differences" to work in the national interest.

During rowdy exchanges, Commons Speaker John Bercow has had to intervene on several occasions to restore order.

Explaining his decision to veto the treaty, Mr Cameron said it was "not an easy thing to do but it was the right thing to do".

He said he was faced with the "choice of a treaty without proper safeguards or no treaty and the right answer was no treaty".

He dismissed claims that he had demanded "an opt-out" for the City from EU directives on finance, seeking only proper regulations and a "level playing field" for British business in Europe.

"I went to Brussels with one objective - to protect Britain's national interest. And that is what I did."

He argued: "I do not believe there is a binary choice for Britain that we can either sacrifice the national interest on issue after issue or lose our influence at the heart of Europe's negotiating process.

"I am absolutely clear that it is possible to be a both a full, committed and influential member of the EU but to stay out of arrangements where they do not protect our interests."

'Bad deal'

But Ed Miliband said the PM had gained nothing from the negotiations, saying "it is not a veto when something goes ahead without you, that's called losing".

"He has come back with a bad deal for Britain," he told MPs. "Far from protecting our interests, he has left us without a voice."

Suggesting the outcome was a "diplomatic disaster" for the UK, Mr Miliband said the prime minister "did not want a deal as he could not deliver it through his party".

Mr Cameron repeatedly pressed his Labour counterpart on whether he would have signed the Treaty.

Ed Miliband said the prime minister ''could not persuade his own deputy'' that not signing the treaty was a good outcome

Although the Labour leader to did not directly reply, the BBC's Nick Robinson said Mr Miliband's aides later made it clear he would not have signed it as it stood - but would have stayed in the room and secured a better outcome.

Mr Cameron's efforts were applauded by a succession of Eurosceptic Conservative MPs, one - John Redwood - saying he had shown "excellent statesmanship".

"Britain today has much more negotiating strength because they know they are dealing with a prime minister who will say no if he needs to," he said.

But Lib Dem MP Martin Horwood said international investors now needed reassurance that the UK remained "at the heart" of European decision-making while his colleague Jo Swinson accused the PM of "rushing for the exit" rather than trying to secure a consensus.

Plaid Cymru's leader in Westminster, Elfyn Llwyd, accused the PM of putting the interests of the City ahead of the national interest while the SNP's Stewart Hosie said Mr Cameron had not consulted with devolved administrations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland before using his veto.

The treaty changes needed the support of all 27 EU members, including those not in the euro, such as the UK, to go ahead. It now looks likely that all 26 other members of the European Union will agree to a new "accord" setting out tougher budget rules aimed at preventing a repeat of the current eurozone crisis.

The new accord will hold eurozone members to strict budgetary rules including:

  • a cap of 0.5% of GDP on countries' annual structural deficits
  • "automatic consequences" for countries whose public deficit exceeds 3% of GDP
  • a requirement to submit their national budgets to the European Commission, which will have the power to request that they be revised

French President Nicholas Sarkozy has suggested Friday's outcome signalled "there are now clearly two Europes".

However the deal still has to be agreed by a number of national parliaments, and the reaction of the financial markets suggests it has failed to bring a swift end to the euro crisis.

The BBC's Rob Cameron in Prague said: "Commentators here have taken a more cautious - and arguably more accurate - view, reflecting the fact that the Czechs haven't signed up to anything yet."

The current French presidential front-runner, Socialist Francois Hollande, said on Monday that if he was elected next May he would renegotiate the accord, saying: "This accord is not the right answer."

One of Chancellor Merkel's close aides in the German parliament told the BBC's Stephen Evans he does not see why "Britain should stay isolated".

CDU Chief Whip Peter Altmaier said: "Over the last years there has been very intensive cooperation between the UK and Germany and I'm deeply convinced that this will continue. It will last. We have so much in common and there are so few issues that divide us."


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  • rate this

    Comment number 1737.

    "but consider where we'd be if we had adopted the Euro as a currency years ago!"

    While all harp on about how glad they are the UK is not in the Euro, it won't match the EU's relief that the UK opted to keep sterling - the UK's huge deficit would surely have spelled the end of the Euro and all but brought the economies of the developed world to their collective knees.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1736.

    If one wants to be kept abreat of what is happening in the EU, sadly this information is not available from the BBC. Once again, we see totally slanted reporting of the events taking place between the UK and the EU. Of course, this has come as no surprise. By actin as it does, the BBC is forcing most people to get their information from other sources which is sad.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1735.

    Cameron could've demanded that any money raised by a Tobin Tax would stay in the country where the money was raised

    He could have done, but i'd bet my last pound they'd have told him to get bent. Merkozy wants their hands on the British financial institutions, althogh they won't that directly. They've already removed 2 sovreign elected leaders and replaced them with stooges.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1734.

    1699. lifeslittlechallenges

    Good point , but I prefer the term 'taxpayer of the UK' cos whether the bloke in charge is wearing red or blue pants they still get their massive handout


    Fair enough, but there's still no reason for the BBC to be more pro-EU than pro-Westminster - if we are to be assuming that channels say things their paymasters want them to.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1733.

    The plebs and their ability to see the whole picture never ceases to amaze me. DC's veto was nothing but a Pyrrhic victory. The disconnect in not realising the whole banking/monetary system is daisychain connected and Cameron's veto somehow saved the City and the UK from a EuroZone tax is mindboggling. If the Euro goes down, the city goes down. The city holds upwards of 50% of CDS's for Euro bonds

  • rate this

    Comment number 1732.

    losing sovereignty? this has been lost a long time ago to big business. Think I would rather be rules by Brussels, despite its many problems, then by the scumbags in NOTW.
    It was a tough choice, he just made the wrong one. SHort term popularity gain for long term loss and increased irrelevancy (which stage did @lau96aph think britain would be standing tall on?

  • rate this

    Comment number 1731.


    @1636.1L19, forgive me but wasnt there a general Election in 2010? The tories won the most number of seats
    But in our system you can only say you represent the will of the people if you command a majority in the House of Commons. Cameron and his party don't. A major Coalition Party does well to tread warily in major issues, or seek a full mandate from the Electorate

  • rate this

    Comment number 1730.

    Britain never wanted to be part of a superstate...We have every right not to integrate with Europe.

    I find your stance (over the past while) interesting, not so much for what you say, but that it's so at odds with your screen name. The spelling/pronunciation of that sounds very Eastern European, yet you seem to be very protectionist toward England. Maybe a deeper truth?

  • rate this

    Comment number 1729.

    OK you righties, no one knows what actually went on in the meeting and i suppose we'll never know. So people here jumping to conclusions without any sense of the facts.
    We won't know for months, maybe years before the effects of this decision.
    Oh and yes you Tory supporters, if was the Labour party that kept us out of the Euro, you do have short memories don't you!

  • rate this

    Comment number 1728.

    1661. efan ekoku
    12 Minutes ago

    Oh dear, you need to keep up. Both Greece and Italy are run by unelected EU officials now.

    I did qualify the statement as it appeared to be Merkel and Sarkozy the the OP was refering to as that is with whom DC was negotiating with, not Italy and Greece

  • rate this

    Comment number 1727.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1726.


    So, reading between the lines, the banks, or many of them, are primed and ready to move anyway, regardless of EU rules or not. I would interpret that to mean they are actually planning going anyway regardless, but just need one or two to jump. If the 'EU interference/tax' reason doesn't get used, something else will. Far from deterring them, isolation could well be the trigger?

  • rate this

    Comment number 1725.


    Supply and Demand

    Clearly you know nothing about business. I sell to a country in the EU at a good price for a product they want. Do you think that they are going to stop buying because i am 'not one of them'.

    Unfounded scaremongering

  • rate this

    Comment number 1724.

    "Lastly based on this evidence do we really want to remain in an unelected eu/dictatorship"

    None so blind as those who refuse to see.

    The new leaders in the EU countries are appointed technocrat bankers - the creatures of the financial elite. So are the senior EU figures almost to a man. So are most of the current government of both parties

    Explains DCs action.. its what he was employed to do

  • rate this

    Comment number 1723.

    How appropriate to have this as the highest rated comment!

    Stop deluding yourselves. The British ARE standing as alone as you will ever imagine. And wishing the others ill will not gain you any favours either, whether the euro fails or not.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1722.

    1624. lifeslittlechallenges
    So what if the BBC is partly funded by the EU?
    -. BBC is largely funded by the gov't of the UK
    @ Silly me. I thought the BBC was funded by the regressive TV tax or licence. That is us folks. And in return we are entitled to impartial news, which we don't get,but we get heavy censorship by the moderators which frequently destroys debate.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1721.

    ''The Euro will collapse.The Euro has collapsed''...Gosh I have been hearing about this imminent collapse ever since I was 15yo and now I am 25! Cameron has made the wrong decision.We are now isolated,marginalized and the bad guys! It is in our best interest to want a stronger central governance of the EU institutions that would help us be a part of truly strong and all mighty union.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1720.

    'Arrogant Dave ought to remember.......He's wet behind the ears and hadn't worked in real jobs before becoming an MP, and it shows'


    DC - bit of work in media then politics
    Ed Millibland - bit of work in media then politics
    Clegg - bit of work in media then politics
    Osbourne - wanted to work in media but didn't, went into politics

    So where do we go from here ??

  • rate this

    Comment number 1719.

    @roaminoff, Japan is very open to imports mainly as it doenst have many of its own natural resources, so it imports large amounts of Steel, Iron, Coal, and other raw materials.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1718.

    @6 DJL1984
    "What real choice did he have? The Merkozy deal would have seen Britain pay £40bn out of the £50bn the Tobin tax would have raised"

    Cameron could've demanded that any money raised by a Tobin Tax would stay in the country where the money was raised - that would be £40 billion a year to boost the UK's wider economy.

    Instead Cameron chose to sacrifice exporters to protect the banks.


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