Britain betrayed by Cameron - Lib Dem MEPs chief whip
by Chris Davies
In a world in which the influence of the old powers is diminishing by the day, Britain's Prime Minister has attacked his closest partners and left our country weaker and more isolated – writes chief whip of the Liberal Democrat MEPs
David Cameron has today relegated Britain to the second division of Europe. He has guaranteed that we will lose our influence at the top decision-making table over issues that are bound to affect us. Imagine the scene in the soulless Council of Ministers building, in Brussels. Around the table, amid the detritus of a dinner that had gone on far too long, were 26 leaders working to protect Europe's economy - plus one, who seems to have been interested mainly in keeping Tory Europhobic knives out of his back.
Cameron wanted an opt-out for Britain, from any future financial regulations. He wanted special privileges for the bankers in the city of London, the very people whose unregulated actions led to the financial crisis back in 2008 – although, there are governments that must take responsibility too. I do not know what the food was like at the dinner, but this would have gone down like a rat sandwich. The other leaders would have felt betrayed in a desperate hour by someone, who cared nothing for the collective good. But the real betrayal was by our own prime minister. He betrayed Britain's interests.
In doing so, Cameron has not even protected the bankers. Future legislation will be dealt with in the usual way, to be proposed by the European Commission and amended or rejected by the European Parliament and the Council of Ministers by qualified majority vote. Our approach should have been to do what others do, which is to have built up alliances and agreements with other member states in order to bring about necessary changes at the right time. Those alliances will be much harder to achieve now.
The future is uncertain. The lack of unity will not have helped the eurozone. It is not clear how a separate bloc of 17 states - or will it be 26 - can progress. Britain's objections may be entirely reasonable in legal terms, but they will seem like carping criticisms by those who were our partners. For the time being, at least, the other work of the European Union will continue. The Lisbon Treaty remains in force and the legislative procedures continue unchanged. A second item on the news today reminds us that in South Africa, our Energy Secretary Chris Huhne is playing a key role in the EU negotiating team on climate change.
But maybe fudge will no longer now be sufficient. A two-speed Europe is developing. Maybe it will become clear that we either have to find a way of joining the club or of relinquishing our membership. Maybe the Europhobes will have their way and we shall withdraw from the EU to remain only, like Norway and Switzerland, a member of the European Economic Area or of the Free Trade Association.Last year those countries adopted 300 items of EU legislation over which their politicians and representatives had absolutely no say at all.
That is the price they pay for their "independence". The lies, the bile and the sheer xenophobia that pours from much of Britain's press have shaped public attitudes and strengthened the Europhobes. The latter have had their way. In a world in which the influence of the old powers is diminishing by the day, Britain's prime minister has attacked his closest partners and left our country weaker and more isolated. Today - Friday 9 December - Britain has taken a step towards irrelevance. There will be other dinners of European leaders. At too many of them, there will now be no place set for the prime minister of the United Kingdom.
Chris Davies is chief whip of the Liberal Democrat Party MEPs in the European Parliament
Out of the second division of Europe, into the premier league of the world as a whole.
Please. What is to stop us having the same relationship with the EU as Brazil, or Mexico, or Australia? How does signing away sovereignty for nothing help us? We're still one in 27. Still as a nation we do not want to be bound in the EU - except the political elites it seems. I would rather be free and poor than be a slave to a rich man.
Since Nick Clegg approved this deal, perhaps you should be considering your own position?
Since the Deputy Prime Minister apparently approved this deal perhaps, you should be considering your own position?
John Stevens - UK
The EU is an undemocratic monster, that has never been useful to Britain. It has always been divided on the international stage: Kosovo, Iraq, Afghanistan, Iraq again, Libya, Russia etc. Worst still, you manipulate the facts to make it look like the Swiss have to adtop regulations they don't want.
The only regulations they adopt are to do with trade - measurements, labelling, that kind of stuff - which any country adopts to export to a market. Just like anybody else, we have to adopt American regulations regarding trade to sell their products. They have no fisheries policy, no CAP, no social and employment rubbish, no funding of Eurocrats and so on.
No name left
So, you don't think the Brits have side dishes?
A Europe without Britain is an irrelevance. A Tory party without Cameron would be an improvement.