- Britain is seeking an ‘emergency brake’ to allow countries outside the eurozone to delay decisions that could threaten their interests
- There’s no guarantee the 19 members of the euro would take any notice
- There would be no provision for the UK to block eurozone policies
As part of the much-vaunted EU renegotiation, it emerged yesterday that Britain is seeking an ‘emergency brake’ to allow countries outside the eurozone to delay decisions that could threaten their interests.
It means that although Britain would be able to impose a pause on any harmful decisions, there would be no guarantee that the 19 member states of the euro would take any notice.
And there would be no provision for the UK to block eurozone policies seen as harming the City of London, for example.
Critics said the weakness of the Prime Minister’s attempts proved the poverty of ambition of the Prime Minister’s renegotiation with Europe ahead of an in/out referendum by the end of 2017.
Paul Stephenson, spokesman for the Vote Leave campaign, said the revelation showed that Mr Cameron had been forced to drop demands for treaty change because other members states were unwilling to make major concessions.
‘Before the election, David Cameron promised “full-on treaty change” – but now he’s offering only cosmetic changes,’ he said.
‘The government’s renegotiation is failing; they are not planning to end the supremacy of EU law or stop us sending £350million a week to Brussels. The only way to take back control is to Vote Leave.
‘Even the modest measures purportedly on the table are unlikely to protect the City and certainly won’t add up to the fundamental change promised to the British people.’
Mr Cameron has been accused, along with the pro-Euroepan establishment, of scaremongering about the dangers of exit. Earlier this week Standard & Poors warned that Britain would lose its credit rating, while a US official said the country did not welcome entering a trade deal with Britain if it votes to leave.
George Osborne will travel to Berlin next week for talks with his opposite number in Germany, on the latest leg of his renegotiation strategy.
The Chancellor said yesterday that he would outline how he wants to protect London’s financial services industry in a reformed EU at the meeting with Wolfgang Schauble.
‘We are now starting to negotiate directly with our colleagues in Europe through the European Council and setting out more detail of what we think is required,’ he said yesterday in York.
He said that in Berlin he would add details of how the British government hopes to achieve its twin aims of addressing the concerns of voters at home about the relationship with Europe, whilst convincing European peers that British-led reforms will improve the bloc.
Yesterday the Financial Times, citing unnamed European ministers and officials, said Britain was seeking protections which would allow non-euro members close to being overruled in areas key to the single market to delay a vote and trigger additional consultations at the level of EU leaders.
However, Mr Osborne has told his EU peers that London will not seek any veto or special carve-out for Britain’s large financial services industry, the newspaper said.
The Treasury declined to comment on the report.
But Mr Cameron’s spokesman said: ‘We are not giving a running commentary on the negotiations with other member states.
‘The Prime Minister has set out four areas where he wants change including how we make sure the interests of the Euro outs are preserved as you see further integration amongst Eurozone countries.’
Mr Cameron is due to spell out his proposals for changing Britain’s relationship with the EU in early November.
Britain is also seeking measures to protect financial firms against discrimination based on where they are based, and guarantees that non-euro countries will not be forced to bear the costs of bailing out eurozone nations, the FT said.
A call for EU cash to tide Greece over until a eurozone bailout angered London earlier this year.