Wednesday 3 February 2016

Cameron's capitulation to the EU

David Cameron has returned from Brussels for the first of his Chamberlain moments waving his magic piece of paper that's going to make everything better.

President of the EU Council, Donald Tusk, has written a letter to Devious Dave with a list of compromises to the compromises to his original "demands".

Here are the salient points:
  • An "emergency brake" on in-work benefits for EU immigrants that will introduce a graduated benefit entitlement starting from no in-work benefits to full entitlement after four years. Tax credits, child benefit, disability benefits, etc., won't be covered by the "emergency brake" which would only come into effect if the EU decides the strain on the benefit system is intolerable because of sustained significant immigration from EU member states and would only last for a fixed period of time.
  • EU immigrants will still be allowed to send child benefit home. Cameron made a manifesto promise of preventing EU immigrants from sending child benefit home but that's gone out of the window. Instead child benefit will be index linked to the cost of living in the country the money is being sent to. Whether this means child benefit will be paid at a higher rate when it's being sent back to countries with higher costs of living remains to be seen.
  • New rules to prevent sham marriages to get residency rights and work permits even though sham marriages are already illegal. Entirely pointless.
  • A "legal statement" that ever closer union won't apply to the UK and a vague commitment that at some point in the future they will look at writing that into a future treaty if the leaders at that time can find a way to agree to it. The "ever closer union" statement written into the Treaty of Rome and the Lisbon Treaty has no legal standing whatsoever and leaving it in treaties or taking it out will make no difference to the agenda of those that guide the EU down its federalist path.
  • A "red card" system to block EU legislation if 55% of member votes (countries get more that one vote depending on population) are opposed to it. This is nothing new, the EU Council of Ministers has to pass EU legislation and if 15 of the 28 leaders oppose it then it doesn't become law. It's nothing new and in practical terms, pretty much entirely useless as that level of consensus it almost unheard of.
  • At some point in the future a new treaty will probably say that the €uro isn't the sole currency of the EU if the leaders at the time can agree some text to have that meaning.
  • New rules to say that UK taxpayers' money can't be used to bail out the €uro. Just as UK taxpayers' money can't be used now to bail out the €uro but has been by deceitful means. This is another meaningless statement which says it's going to do something that is already done.
  • EU member states will only be allowed to talk about things that affect all EU member states with all EU member states and not just €urozone countries. It is not within the remit of the EU to prevent bilateral or multilateral discussions between members of the €urozone so this would only apply to official meetings of the €urozone and its institutions. In other words, there would be no change to the Franco-German coalition that runs the EU.
  • The EU will increase its efforts to reduce red tape and burdens on business but with no objective or target to hold them to.
Nothing in this document will change anything or solve any of the irreconcilable differences between what we want and what the EU is about. It is simply pages of compromises on compromises on compromises that have so diluted the original intentions that they are meaningless. His own MPs and cabinet members are rebelling against him, the papers are dismissing his negotiations as weak and pathetic and even the BBC are dismissing it as a capitulation.