LONDON: David Cameron will renew hostilities with his European partners this week as he attempts to head off moves that critics fear could relegate the UK into the “second-tier” of European Union (EU) member states.
EU leaders will meet at the European Council in Brussels with the express aim of adopting a “specific and time-bound road map” for strengthening economic and monetary union (EMU).
A paper from European Council President Herman Van Rompuy, calling for “arrangements of a contractual nature” between countries using the euro - and the possibility of a eurozone budget — marks an acceleration towards a two-tier Europe, with members of the single currency at its core.
But a number of EU states outside the eurozone — including the UK — have cautioned that the blueprint could leave them as “second-class” members, excluded from key decisions.
Foreign Office Minister, Baroness Warsi, made it clear that the prime minister would not allow non-euro nations to be left out of decisions that affect the whole of the
Cameron will also put the urgent need to secure a rescue deal for the euro ahead of demands by Conservative MPs for Britain to grab back powers from Brussels.
His stance will anger hardline Eurosceptics in his own party, who will step up their pressure on
Cameron to exploit the opportunity of negotiations on a new EU treaty to win concessions for Britain. They will also demand a referendum on the treaty if other EU members such as Ireland call one.
Cameron’s position is a recognition that he has limited bargaining power because the UK is outside the single currency — and that submitting a long shopping list in the talks would get short shrift from the other 26 EU members.