Dec 22 2011 By Caroline Spelman
Sometimes it’s good to take a calm, cool look at a difficult political decision after the furore has died down. The Prime Minister’s decision to veto a EU-wide treaty change over Eurozone rules is a good example.
It was taken to protect the national interest. Countries with the Euro need to fix their own problems and this is not proving easy. We could only agree a new treaty if certain modest and reasonable safeguards were obtained, and sadly, they were not on offer.
A treaty within a treaty without safeguards wasn’t right for Britain, so David Cameron said no and exercised the veto. We’ve done what we said what we were going to do, and Britain is stronger for having stuck to that.
Britain remains a committed member of the EU and will continue to work to ensure that a strong and constructive British voice is heard in all discussions involving the 27 members.
The Prime Minister made it clear when he said: ‘Every other member of the EU is contractually obliged to join the Euro. In Britain we have an absolutely proper, copper-bottomed opt out where we don’t have any obligation to join the Euro.”
On trade, he added that Eurozone countries with big trade deficits need to find a way of trading out of those deficits and existing in a single currency. Britain does have an important influence because that is about driving the single market and having competitive labour markets, all of which we can press for at an EU level.
I am not the least surprised that the polls have given David Cameron an increased lead. His handling of the Eurozone treaty showed a PM intent on gaining the best for the UK.