At the EU summit, there was a rough exchange between French President Sarkozy and the British Prime Minister. Apparently annoyed by Cameron’s advice to save the euro, Sarkozy burst his collar and grumbled at him. And not only that – Cameron is under pressure in London too.
By Torsten Huhn, NDR radio studio in London
These are uncomfortable days for British Prime Minister David Cameron: at the EU summit in Brussels, he was violently attacked by French President Nicolas Sarkozy. And at home he faces a rebellion by EU opponents in his own group.
Sarkozy to Cameron: "Shut up"
Sarkozy’s attack made headlines on the island today: "You missed a good opportunity to keep your mouth shut," said the French President in a large conference yesterday. "We are tired of you constantly criticizing us and telling us what to do," said Sarkozy, and continued: "You hate the euro but want to interfere in our deliberations."
Cameron fears impact on UK economy
Cameron has recently repeatedly called on the euro countries to finally solve the problems in the euro zone. He fears about the effects of the crisis on the stagnating British economy: "The UK is not in the euro area and we have no intention of joining the euro. But it is in Britain’s interests to have a strong and healthy euro area Nothing would help the UK economy recover more than a solution to the euro crisis. "
Cameron successfully demanded that not only a summit of the euro countries take place on Wednesday, but that representatives of all EU countries come together again to discuss and decide on the measures to be taken against the euro crisis.
Print from Cameron’s own faction
Cameron’s appearance in Brussels and his demands for participation in the discussions on the euro also have domestic political reasons. Because against his declared will, opponents of the EU want to push through a referendum in his own parliamentary group on whether Great Britain should remain in the EU. One of the EU opponents is MEP Bernard Jenkin. He justified his call for a referendum: "We have given so much power to the European Union. There has never been a referendum on this transfer of power. The problem is: The European Union is changing now, it is a completely different beast 1975 when we joined the common market. We have to get power back so we can deregulate our economy and make it grow again. "
The EU skeptics have no chance of a majority in parliament, only around 70 conservative MPs will join the motion. But they can weaken Cameron’s position.
Flimsy arguments of the EU opponents
The arguments of the EU opponents are rather threadbare: "One of the reasons why our economy is not growing at the moment is that we are suffering from the burden of EU regulations," says Jenkin. Business associations estimate that the cost of EU regulations is over 65 billion euros a year. "That is why we have lost competitiveness in the world and why many business people think that the common market is more of a disadvantage than an advantage for them."
But this statement has not been proven – large parts of the British economy definitely see advantages from EU membership. But the request of the Tory MPs shows that there is still a strong anti-EU group in the Conservative Party.