Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Brown Celebrates 'Good Deal on EU'

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Brown Celebrates 'Good Deal on EU'

Article excerpt


GORDON BROWN joined a champagne toast for the new EU treaty early today- then faced a storm for refusing a referendum.

The Prime Minister smiled with the other 26 EU leaders in a celebration in theearly hours after a night of last-minute haggling at their Lisbon summit.

Although Mr Brown was not seen raising a glass himself, he praised the summitchairman for striking "a good deal". Host Portuguese premier Jose Socratesurged him: "We are counting on you to sell it to the British people." The moodof congratulations was in stark contrast to today's session where Mr Browntried to move the EU focus away from the treaty and onto bread and butterissues such as jobs and the environment.

In a separate debate behind the scenes, Downing Street today poured cold wateron moves led by the French to make Tony Blair the first president of Europe.

Opponents of the treaty stepped up their demands for a national vote on it.

Shadow Europe minister Mark Francois claimed: "In the small hours Gordon Brownhas agreed the revised EU constitution, which potentially transfers massivepowers from Britain to the EU.

"He had absolutely no democratic mandate to do this and we will now step up ourcampaign to secure the referendum which he promised the British people allalong." Mr Brown said it was time to stop navel gazing. "The reform treaty hasnow been agreed," he declared. "The red lines have been secured. The Britishnational interest has been protected. It is now time for Europe to move on anddevote all our attentions to the issues that matter to the people of Europe -economic growth, jobs, climate change and security." A signing ceremony will beheld on 13 December for the treaty, which is based largely on the defunctEuropean Constitution, killed off by voters in France and Holland.

Later in December or January, the Government will introduce a Bill to make itbinding. …

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