Fog over Channel: London's Veto of the Treaty to Save the Euro

By Gardner, Anthony Luzzatto | Harvard International Review, Summer 2012 | Go to article overview

Fog over Channel: London's Veto of the Treaty to Save the Euro


Gardner, Anthony Luzzatto, Harvard International Review


On October 22, 1 957, a London 77mcs headline declared: "Heavy Fog in Channel - Continent Cut Off." Britain's tabloid press displayed similar insularity in early December, 2011 after Prime Minister David Cameron vetoed an effort by the other members of the European Union to amend the Lisbon Treaty. The amendment would have enshrined legally binding rules governing budgetary discipline and economic policy coordination in the eurozone with the aim of avoiding another Greek debt disaster. Echoing one of its notorious front pages from the 1990s that urged its readers to tell then-European Commission President Jacques Delors "where to stuff" the European Union's new single currency, the Sun claimed that Cameron had blasted the "bully boys of Europe with a sensational Winston (Churchill-style 'Up Yours.'"

However, not everyone agreed that the Prime Minister had displayed admirable "bulldog spirit." Nick Clegg, Deputy Prime Minister and leader of the Liberal Democrats--the Conservative Party's coalition partner--complained that Cameron had not only undermined Britain's influence in Europe and the United States but also put the interests of the City above those of the wider economy. Ed Miliband, the leader of the opposition Labour Party, claimed that the veto had been a "diplomatic disaster" which had "exposed, not protected, British business." While Sir Richard Branson and a group of British businessmen warned the government of the risk that Britain would no longer be closely involved in the EU decision-making process, a poll indicated that a large majority of business leaders agreed with the Prime Minister and favored a looser relationship with the European Union.

Many EU leaders, above all German Chancellor Angela Merkel, had favored making budgetary discipline legally binding in EU treaties through a "fiscal compact" to save the euro. This approach was attractive in that it would have extended its rules equally to all EU member states inside and outside the eurozone. The European Commission would have had the ability to sue member states for non-compliance, and existing treaties would be amended to ensure maximum legal certainty. Cameron's veto has not prevented all eurozone members and non-members--except the UK and the Czech Republic--from signing a new treaty on an intergovernmental basis. Still, the result is legally messy as the treaty has been superimposed on--and alters--a substantial body of existing legislation without formally amending it. Once implemented in January 2013, this treaty will require member states to pass "binding and permanent legislation" that caps budget deficits at 0.5 percent of GDP over the economic cycle and reduces total government debt to 60 percent of GDP or less over time.

It is questionable whether these new rules will succeed when the similar 1997 Stability and Growth Pact, which required member states to respect certain "convergence criteria" by capping budget deficits and national debt as a percentage of GDP, failed because most members ignored its rules. Even if the rules succeed, it is possible that the treaty will simply compound the structural imbalances at the heart of the eurozone crisis by requiring even more austerity of debtor countries. The treaty does not appear to address the European Union's core challenge: stimulating demand and imports in surplus-creditor countries and encouraging the eurozone's growth and competitiveness. In mid-January, Standard & Poor's justified its downgrading of the credit rating of many EU countries, including previously triple-A rated France and Austria, in part on the basis that "a reform process based on a pillar of fiscal austerity alone risks becoming self-defeating."

Still, while the British government may well have shared these legitimate concerns about the content of the treaty, its veto was not the best way to address them. It may have negative consequences, not only for Britain's domestic politics and its relationship with the European Union and United States, but also for the orientation of the European Union itself. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Fog over Channel: London's Veto of the Treaty to Save the Euro
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.