British foreign minister William Hague will on Tuesday issue a stark warning to European leaders that the EU faces crisis if it continues to take more powers from national governments.
During his speech in Berlin, Hague will also insist that the eurozone’s current structures are not fit for purpose but that any changes to remedy the currency union’s problems must respect the primacy of the single market.
Hague will highlight three key issues facing Europe’s leaders, who meet on Thursday in Brussels for a summit that will address the bloc’s ongoing debt crisis.
According to Hague, the EU has to decide how to accommodate the different kinds of integration members states want; and how to deal with the problem of democratic legitimacy and accountability within the EU.
Thirdly, Hague will stress the importance of getting “the right balance of what the EU does do or doesn’t do.”
The two-day European Union summit is expected to concentrate on the possibility of a bailout for Spain, the situation in Greece and the banking union.
Britain wants the banking union to comprise only the 17 eurozone members. And it wants it regulated by the European Central Bank rather than falling under the control of the European Commission, the EU’s executive arm, which oversees the entire single market.
But London is seeking safeguards for Britain’s financial sector, which fears it could become isolated and targeted by EU-wide regulations drawn up by members of the new union.
Hague will warn against any attempt to use the current crisis to centralise powers, highlighting growing euroscepticism in Britain.
On Monday, Germany denied reports that it would scrap November’s EU summit on the bloc’s seven-year budget if Britain threatened to veto a deal.