David Cameron’s European Union renegotiation plans were today dealt a hammer blow as it emerged that Germany and France are officially attempting to block any change to the European treaties – a core part of Mr Cameron’s strategy for Britain to remain in the European Union.
France’s Le Monde newspaper reported today that French President Francois Hollande and German Chancellor Angela Merkel are set to present a proposal to the EU Summit in Brussels next month, outlining their agreement for a stronger political union based upon the current European treaties.
The two most powerful countries in the European Union therefore, have set themselves on a collision course with Mr Cameron’s plans, offering a boost to the ‘out’ campaigners in the United Kingdom, who have repeatedly argued that treaty change is a pie-in-the-sky idea that has been consistently rejected by Europe.
Germany and France are reported to have gone behind Mr Cameron’s back with the aim to “integrate the eurozone without reopening the EU’s treaties.”
UKIP’s leader Nigel Farage said of the announcement today: “How many times does David Cameron have to get a kick back from the EU before he admits to the British people he isn’t going to get any treaty change? Or for that matter any repatriation of powers back to the House of Commons?”
The news seems carefully timed, as Mr Cameron ventures on a charm offensive across European capitals, attempting to drum up support for his plans.
Critics, such as Dr Richard North, have argued that Mr Cameron is aiming for a “Chamberlain-style ‘Heston moment'” in which he “can come back from ‘tense’ meetings in Brussels, declaring: ‘I have in my hand this treaty agreed by the European Council’.” The eurosceptic movement in Britain is concern that the media and government apparatus will line up behind this stage-managed production, and trick the British public into another generation’s worth of EU membership.
Dr North notes that the only people likely to speak up against such moves are “a disconsolate rump of ‘right wing’ Tory MPs and a discredited, disjointed Ukip,” reflecting on the in-fighting still plaguing the latter.
Meanwhile, Breitbart London understands that Nigel Farage is already attracting considerable attention for a large role in the ‘out’ campaign – to the chagrin of those such as Douglas Carswell MP – who have persistently called for Mr Farage not to play a leading part.
Speaking to Breitbart London today, Mr Farage said that he was using this summer to have “interesting conversations, meeting business leaders, and making plans” for the upcoming campaign, some of which Breitbart London understands have already taken place.
Le Monde reports that the Franco-German pact reveals that “French and German leaders do not have much in common with David Cameron” despite the British Prime Minister’s attempts to portray himself as a key part of the debate across the continent.
Meanwhile, the Conservative Party appears to be beginning the internal war over the referendum plans, with Owen Paterson MP coming closest to UKIP’s ‘out’ position.
Long-serving eurosceptic Daniel Hannan MEP, close friends with UKIP’s Douglas Carswell, appears to have soften his stance, stating that he “almost wants to weep” at the “missed opportunity” of renegotiation with the European Union – appearing no longer to push for an ‘out’ vote, but rather for Britain’s “associate membership” of the EU.
His article comes just a day before Mr Carswell backed the idea that Mr Cameron’s renegotiation period should be prolonged, again putting him at odds with the UKIP leader who has previously said that a referendum could be held in the summer of this year.