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The rift with the British is widening (Maj)

(BRUSSELS2) There was the postponement of the Franco-British summit between Sarkozy and Cameron, scheduled for December 2. Today – with the agreement reached during the night at the European summit – there is the Franco-German desire to move forward with economic integration.

UK in the corner

A treaty which is not 17+ as has been elegantly said. But at 27 -. It was, in fact, the resolute opposition of the United Kingdom which was the fracturing element. Sweden and the Czech Republic were reluctant and wanted to consult their parliament first. And Hungary seemed to follow, but mainly for reasons of political expediency. For the two Eastern European countries, it is likely that this “exit” may not survive more than a few years when these two countries want to knock on the door of the euro or simply change leaders.

(Update 13 p.m.) Hungarian prime minister Victor Orban backtracked this morning, speaking of a misunderstanding. Hungary is not absolutely against the Treaty but must “consult Parliament”. “ I had a mandate from Parliament for two aspects: to resolve the euro crisis at 27 or if there was no agreement at 27 to let the eurozone settle the issue » he explained during a press conference. However, here, it is a question of joining the Eurozone countries. We must therefore discuss it with Parliament. It will be " electric he promised. Because we touch on the sovereignty " from the country. However, he wanted to distance himself from the United Kingdom, believing that Hungary could not side with him. “The British have an opt-out refusal to join the eurozone. We want to join the Euro, it's not a question of choice, it's an obligation he explained.

A little in, a little out

For the United Kingdom, this is for the moment a personal defeat for D. Cameron. He was not fully aware of the changing mood among Europeans. Usually, they did everything to keep the United Kingdom on board, even if it meant granting it one or two opt-outs, as was done with previous treaties (from Maastricht to Lisbon via Amsterdam). The United Kingdom is thus always a little in, a little out. The exclusion of the United Kingdom from the social protocol responded to a very political objective which was not unfavorable to British interests; the same for non-participation in the Schengen agreement which responded to a much more physical notion – the United Kingdom not having land borders obviously does not have the same interest in sharing border control with the countries continental. This time, the Europeans seemed determined to “overboard” the United Kingdom and not give in to its demands to be able to benefit without participating, the usual British tactic. However, not all difficulties are resolved, because here we touch on the heart of the community system, economic integration, institutional functioning. It is not entirely clear that the UK is not looking to get back out the window, either by negotiating an ad hoc association agreement or simply by challenging that agreement in the European Court of Justice. The British also have excellent lawyers…

Text approved at the Summit tonight: in the B2 docs

“Defense” projects are slipping

In defense, we know well that current projects are slipping, at least on the industrial side. Aside from nuclear cooperation which is the subject of a treaty set in stone, and corresponds to a real convergence of interests (United Kingdom and France are the only European countries to have a nuclear deterrent weapon) , the other projects are still in the pipeline. In addition to the usual difficulties of cooperation with several people – slower to set up than a solo project – there are factors of quasi-political divergence. The two governments do not have the same approach to European defense industrial policy. For France, this involves protecting its national and possibly European champion. For the United Kingdom, this still remains industrial support for American industries. In legal terms, this translates, for the first, by the desire for a call for tenders restricted to the European market (NB: which excludes the USA) – as permitted by the defense directive -, for the second, by the desire of an open call for tenders (NB: in the USA).


Nicolas Gros Verheyde

Chief editor of the B2 site. Graduated in European law from the University of Paris I Pantheon Sorbonne and listener to the 65th session of the IHEDN (Institut des Hautes Etudes de la Défense Nationale. Journalist since 1989, founded B2 - Bruxelles2 in 2008. EU/NATO correspondent in Brussels for Sud-Ouest (previously West-France and France-Soir).

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