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Germany keeps door open for outcast Brits

The Local · 10 Dec 2011, 15:50

Published: 10 Dec 2011 15:50 GMT+01:00

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Speaking at a meeting with his Portuguese counterpart in Lisbon on Friday, Westerwelle said it was "regrettable that not everyone is joining in" with the plan outlined by German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy on Thursday night.

Merkel and Sarkozy had proposed that all 27 EU states agree to a fundamental treaty change to impose a debt limit and automatic sanctions if countries live too far beyond their means.

British Prime Minister David Cameron dramatically wielded his veto at the meeting in Brussels, meaning that a separate fiscal union was proposed, and is expected to be signed by the majority of EU states in March.

So far, 23 states have said they will sign up to Merkel and Sarkozy's plan, with Sweden, the Czech Republic and Hungary saying that they would have to consult their parliaments. Only Britain has categorically ruled out joining, unless special exemptions are made to protect the financial sector.

"We will not leave anything untried to get all the countries in the European Union to join this important stability package," said Westerwelle. "The work of persuasion will continue."

Westerwelle welcomed the new fiscal union. "This is a historical step towards a stability union," he said in Lisbon. "But there is still a lot to do. We have no time to lose."

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The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

16:27 December 10, 2011 by derExDeutsche
God forbid, the Brits should suffer the fate of Switzerland's economic collapse.
17:45 December 10, 2011 by jg.
The European Union Act 2011 means that Cameron only had two options for Mekozy's treaty: "No" or "We'll have a referendum". A referendum would open a can of worms, with opposing opinions on the EU, in his own party and that of his coalition partners. It seems pretty clear that the British electorate would vote "No" if a referendum were held now.
18:28 December 10, 2011 by ChrisRea

So why did Cameron say instead "Yes, we want the benefits of being part of the agreement, but only with the condition that we can escape our duties when we feel like it"? A "No" would have been more dignifying.

As regarding the referendum, things are far from being clear. The latest poll show that those in favour of leaving EU are still below 50%. Do you have access to some figures that show a fully different situation?
18:52 December 10, 2011 by Adebanjos
British have never change over the year and centuries, they're the old Colonia master with wisdom and everything around them is all about their interest.

But funny enough with or without the British empire, Euro is gonna survive this crisis its found itself.
18:52 December 10, 2011 by jg.
Which "duties" would we be escaping exactly? Contributing even more to bail out the Eurozone when several continental poliicians have made it quite clear that Britain could not expect similar help from the Eurozone?

The current UK administration made promises about a referendum during the election but have since dodged the issue - because they know they will receive the wrong answer. Similarly, the previous administration promise a referendum (twice) and then refused to hold one, for the same reason. Two thirds of British people were against ceding more powers to the EU, in the last poll that I am aware of.
19:28 December 10, 2011 by Loth
The EU will never be the United States of Europe unless the people have more say and the Elites less say so. Too bad lately in America it seems when the people talk our leaders plug their ears. Freedom requires input from the people.
19:57 December 10, 2011 by coffejohn
This "veto" issue seems to me to be a set up, designed to distract the people of the EZone from the real issue, the lack of faith in the euro.

This lack of faith has not been addressed by Merkel and Sarkozy, let alone the lemmings who followed them into this dead end policy.

British participation was always symbolic rather than important, we were dealing with our deficit before the EZone knew it had one.

My hunch is that by, if not before, the new year the club med will be in trouble again. What will Merkel and Sarkozy do for them then in their new found solidarity?

As I understand their fiscal plan the EZone is basing it`s next bailout on IMF funding. That means US and UK money being used to bail out the nations that are calling us traitors!

I suspect that when Germany realises that the French are gaming them the UK and Germany will return to more placid relations.
21:50 December 10, 2011 by Motorvating
So long EU, it has been nice knowing you, but it is time we left the party.

We British have lived on our island for so long, with a 1,000 year history without conquest of our home, that has formed our national psyche quite different from our brothers across the water. The very idea of a federal states of Europe brings about a reaction of resistance and determination not to lose our national identity, that probably seems insane to you, but perfectly logical to us.
22:49 December 10, 2011 by Winston1974
Why would the British give away even more control and revenue to Europe? Agreeing to be tied further by European regulation would cost GB millions that she can't afford, remove much profit of our own financial institutions into Europe and tie red tape around everyday lives of everyday people. The British decided to stay out of the Euro which is a decision well born out by current events and now we may suffer because of our ties with a couple of dozen of failing countries. These events are being used by France and Germany to try and gain control over Europe....again. Two of the most nationalistic countries in the world have it in their national psyche to believe in their superiority over other races, the Germans hate the British and the French despise them and always will and will use any excuse to gain control of Europe.
23:27 December 10, 2011 by ChrisRea
@ jg.

You are asking what duties did UK ask to escape from? Well, if you did not read about the core matters discussed and agreed by the 23 countries, let me serve you this piece of information.They committed to avoid outsize government deficits and to put balanced-budget procedures of some form in their national laws. That's the minimum to be done if you want to learn something from the current debt crisis, don't you think? So it is not about giving revenues to Europe as some newbie commentators stated.

Regarding the referendum, staying in the EU and giving EU more power are two different things. Make sure you do not mix the figures.
11:49 December 11, 2011 by Clive Higgins
As is often the case, the current high emotions confuse symptoms with causes.

The Euro is in trouble because its client states have behaved badly, they have lied and they have cheated. The result of which is that some nations now have debts that are unsustainable, and almost certainly not repayable.

They current arguments about fiscal rules are merely an attempt, far too little and far too late, to address the symptoms.

The EU has only two ways out of its current mess, total fiscal union, with one central Financial Controller and one Central President or the Euros collapse.

The people of Europe would not, if they were given the chance, vote for the former so its either an imposed dictatorship or finacial collapse.

The British of course no all about the process by which the unelected and unaccountable shadows in Brussels wield their power as it is identical to the process they used to take control of India.

One final observation, before you lambast the peoples of Greece, Spain, Italy, Ireland & Portugal, yes they are far from blameless, but a very large part of the money they fecklessly borrowed was spent buying the goods that form Germanys export successand financial standing. Take away that expenditure and BMW, Porsche, Mercedes, Volkswagen etc etc suddenly have very small order books. Contagion works in many different ways, how will the Northern European economic miracle look when the orders dry up.

As for the Brits being out on their own, they always have been, its how they are made, whats Europe going to do about it, well nothing up front. I expect the vetsed interests of Brussels will try and undermine people like Cameron but do we really think that the economic interests of Europe are going to be served by for example not selling manufactured goods to the 6th largest economy in the World, I think not
11:54 December 11, 2011 by Kennneth Ingle
Let us be honest for just two minutes. British governments sent thousands of young Britons into two world wars with Germany, not just as we are told, to fight for freedom and democracy, but also because that country was a danger to our place within the commercial domination of world markets.

The USA has long since taken Britain's share of global trading within the Middle and Far East. Now Cameron has handed the economic control of the European continent to Merkel and Sarkozy. Without any good reason.

The argument, that Britain wishes to keep its sovereignty rings well in the ears of those Britons who have never been outside their own village borders, but it is only a propaganda put out by our overgrown public schoolboys in Westminster. We have long since become a Protectorate of America, for whom many of our lads die in wars now being fought. As for Europe, instead of becoming a leading nation in the EU, the power has been passed on to a German Kanzlerin

she grew up and was educated within the communist system. Thus her attitude towards financial planning. Of course much of what she says and does is wrong, but it is no answer to run away. Britain - if it can - must show that it can be the better alternative, but looking at the way the Pound has fallen in value since 1945, there has been no sign of anyone in London who is capable of doing this job.
12:04 December 11, 2011 by TheCrownPrince
This will be remembered as the biggest strategical blunder of british foreign policy in decades. With flying flags towards marginalization, hipp, hipp, hooray!
13:08 December 11, 2011 by karldehm
I like a lot of the comments made about Mr. Cameron's decision. He was between a rock and a hard place and his decision was more of a decision to stay in power or commit political suicide. Simply put, he had little choice. But whatever the present decision is, it is not in the long term interest of either the UK or Europe. Our combined futures lie in some kind of union. Our combined history has shown us that fighting among ourselves or against one another only leads to hardship, death and misery.

For the European Union to work properly, we all have to give up something for the betterment of all. It is and will be an evolutionary process with setbacks, but also with successes.

Remember we are not enemies. Surely, we are mature enough to do what is right in the long term and not pout about our pride.
17:49 December 11, 2011 by Steve Potts
The people in the UK didn't sign up for a European Polical union. They joined a European Economic Community which was all about trade and friendship. According to opinion polls issued today about 60% of people are in favour of leaving the European Union.

I know this might sound unfriendly but the EU needs the UK more than the UK needs the EU - there is a trade imbalance in favour of the EU. The real problem now is that the politicians are somewhat deluded by thinking that the Euro can be saved. It is only a question of time before the Greeks default and the Italians will look for a way out. The only way forward my friends is for the PIIGS to be offered a chance to make an orderly withdraw from the Euro and to be given the chance to set their own interest rates and monitory policy.
19:22 December 11, 2011 by Martin Storer
Half the fun of travelling around Europe was exchanging and spending the various currencies. I really miss the Mark and the Franc and the Drachma.

This is all an excuse for the wealthy nations to control the poorer ones. Those over-overpaid idiots in Brussels couldn't run a tap. They should go. Go back to working for a living. Then we can all go home and run our own lives.
21:25 December 11, 2011 by david53
23:10 December 11, 2011 by jg.

About duties and budget deficits: Some years ago, both France and Germany decided that they would not be subject to fines for exceeding defict limits, although both agreed with fines levied on both Italy and the UK. Britain and Italy both paid up. Come back when you have persuaded France and Germany to live by the rules which they apply to others.

UK referendum: Yes, don't confuse the referenda. None of Tony Blair, Gordon Brown and David Cameron ever suggested a referendum on leaving the EU, they only ever discussed referenda on further integration e.g on whether to ratify the Lisbon Treaty. The European Union Act 2011 also does not offer the possibility of a referendum on leaving the EU - it simply requires that any measure which would transfer more powers to the EU must be put to a referendum.
01:54 December 12, 2011 by ChrisRea
@ Steve Potts

Are you another one mixing the figures? The polls released on December 11 talk about figures of 48% and 52% (both without error margins). Please provide a link if you have other information.

@ jg.

I'm glad you did not come up with an opinion contradicting the fact that the measures agreed by the 23 countries cannot bring but a positive influence on the national debts.
11:11 December 12, 2011 by HelloOutThere
It's interesting to see that people here talk about Britain or Great Britain as a geographic entitity respectively the United Kingdom as a political entitity (which - as we all know - comprises England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland). But recently it seems that Scotland and Wales do not completely agree with with the English concerning this particular topic. With Scotland - as far as I know - already attempting to become independet from the United Kingdom, could this not only lead to a split up of the European Union (or rather the European Union on one side and the UK on the other side), but also to a split up of the United Kingdom?

Best regards to all
20:42 December 12, 2011 by Bomo
Fiscal union is clearly necessary for the future stability of the Eurozone. However, there is still a raging Euro fire that desperately requires some attention. It seems to me that Germany has too much focus on inflation, austerity and punishment. They appear to be fighting a war against inflation when it should be waged against deflation. Governments should get their spending under control, but there urgently needs to be plan for growth. Also, there is no point in financial punishment when there is no money in the bank accounts of these bankrupt countries. It should not be forgotten that German and French banks were happily lending Greece billions of Euros knowing that they had huge deficit problems, given recent events I find this somewhat ironic.

About the summit last week, I think all three players failed miserable. Although it was really about Merkel and Cameron, Sarkosy has his own re-election agenda and Merkel appears to tolerate him just to keep up the charade that it is Germany and France together that is now running the EU. I think Volker Kauder¦#39;s remark ¦quot;Europe is speaking German¦quot; sums up the real game. I just wonder how many countries would have signed up to a loss of sovereignty if they were not in such dire financial straits.

I have to say that I was very pro EU and although I do speak German, that now is about as close as I want get to this dictatorial organisation. Oh, by the way - Bild am Sonntag 46% of Germans think they would be better off outside the EU and only 45% want to stay in it.
21:57 December 12, 2011 by reallybigdog

What a paranoid and ridiculous blowhard. Da Germans are coming, da Germans are coming and there going to to to Germanize us all.....ahhhhh!

Its economics David...in other words its just business and Germany/France have proven how irrelevant England really is in the world no guns required. Perhaps Germany/France know down the road England's currency will have far less value than today and they expect to convert the pound at just pennies on the dollar when she is far more desperate and increasingly isolated from the heard. Such a pity!
23:31 December 12, 2011 by Logic Guy
Well, one of the main driving forces behind the creation of a United Europe, was to join all European nations, in an effort to prevent future wars. "A family is less likely to destroy itself." However, if the UK wants out, then they should be allowed to go on their own. With the appropriate measures, the other EU nations could re-establish stability and growth, without the UK. You just need intelligence!
08:54 December 13, 2011 by Aasvogel
Cameron did the right thing but for the wrong reasons. He didn't want the City to be penalised with a Tobin tax. Fine - but the better reason would have been to preserve sovereignty of the nation state rather than be subsumed into an oligarchy run by corporations, big banks and unelected bureaucrats - one step further toward unelected world government and a world currency taxed and controlled by a megabank; tyranny in spades, in other words. As others have noted - the British do not trust the EU and, given the chance in a referendum, would probably vote to leave. That is unacceptable to Cameron who, despite present appearances is pro-EU. He has no intention of holding a referendum so short of a popular revolt there will not be one under his watch.
14:35 December 13, 2011 by Eijnar
If Cameron actually bothered to ASK the British people if they want Britain to be a member of the European Union he would get a resounding NO as his answer.And that is why he will never dare ask them and as nobody in Britain below the age of 54 years of age has ever been asked it is now just bloody insulting that this pantomime is allowed to continue even for one more day! Millions of ADULTS have been treated like silly children ,unable to decide for themselves and requiring the firm guidance of Nanny to stop us doing something that might upset the grownups!

He should thank god that the British people have been disarmed as many would happily shoot these traitorous bullyintg scum on sight for the deliberate mess they have made of our country and the way WE are constantly refused a choice of our own.
23:51 December 20, 2011 by shaun the brummie
kenneth ingle..you are the typical liberal minded coward who would do anything to further his party's power.clegg and the rest of the anti english rabble in the liberaldemocrats and labour have shown such a flagrant disregard for the populations views on illegal wars(labour)no referendum on europe(labour)allowing scots to vote on english issues(labour)signing away powers to europe(labour)unchecked immigration(labour)inablity to kick illegals and undesirables out due to the anti english human rights act(labour)....and the list goes on...i'd only trust a german/frenchman/scot in front of me while i hold a rifle and we're at war with them...then i know where i stand with them.....is it true that the libdems defence policy is to buy a lot of white flags.the sooner the united kingdom is broken up and all have their own parliament the better.
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