Thursday, February 18, 2016

Quote of the day 18th February 2016

Robert Peston on the importance of the negotiations to take place tonight and tomorrow morning, in an article which you can read in full here:

"There are three outstanding issues to resolve:
  • Will the independent powers of the Bank of England to regulate and supervise our banks and financial institutions be permanently protected by a promise of future EU treaty reform that would prevent eurozone members from duffing us up in a commercial sense?
  • Quite how far will the EU go in allowing the prime minister to limit child benefit payments to migrants and for how long will it allow him to lessen in-work credits to them?
  • Will the UK have an exemption - also to be enshrined in a future treaty amendment - from the EU precept that all members are on an inexorable journey to "ever closer union" (or less autonomy for national governments).

Now I am going to say something deeply unfashionable - which is that these three decisions are more important than most commentators and politicians will allow.

The point is that they collectively represent a recognition by the EU that limits to its political, monetary and economic integration are not transitional but permanent.

In that sense, they represent the official death knell for a United States of Europe that was the ambitions - sometimes vocalised, sometimes disingenuously denied - of the EU's founders and fundamentalists.

So even if you think David Cameron has won less for Britain from his tortuous negotiations with the other 27 than he might have done, he may succeed in rewriting European theology."

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