The Times, 21 May 2015: Drop the term ‘single currency’ or we’re out, Cameron tells EU. “The document spells out Mr Cameron’s ultimatum, saying that his forthcoming negotiation with Brussels and fellow EU heads of state “should include the recognition that the EU is a multi-currency union”…. Britain fears that the eurozone, acting as a bloc of 19 members, will run the EU for its own benefit, distorting Europe’s single market or allowing the European Central Bank to take measures defending the euro at the expense of the pound.”
This appear to be an extraordinary negotiating demand as it does not relate to the UK’s position at all as this was enshrined in a remarkably detailed protocol at Maastricht. Instead, any UK official who has actually read the key texts in the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) will see that the role of the single currency is absolutely central to the economic arrangements of the bloc.
Why would the existing 19 euro members (and the other seven EU members committed by Treaty to joining the euro in due course) want to upset the now-huge body of economic policies to change the UK’s `opt-out’ into a commitment never to join? That result can be achieved – at least in principle - by an Act of the United Kingdom Parliament at any time.
A curious result of such a negotiating tactic is that many pro-European in the UK who would like to retain the possibility of joining the euro at some stage would have to join the anti-Europeans in voting against the `Cameron reform package’. That would quite likely be enough to ensure the referendum is lost and that Brexit actually happens. Alternatively, the ploy will be so unacceptable to the rest of Europe (in’s and pre-in’s) that a major plank of the reform request would be refused, thus giving the Prime Minister an excellent reason to argue for leaving the EU. Currently, it would seem very likely that result would trigger a departure of Scotland from the United Kingdom.
The one merit of this negotiating tactic is that David Cameron’s place in history would be certain.
TFEU Article 119: ECONOMIC AND MONETARY POLICY
1. For the purposes set out in Article 3 of the Treaty on European Union, the activities of the Member States and the Union shall include, as provided in the Treaties, the adoption of an economic policy which is based on the close coordination of Member States’ economic policies, on the internal market and on the definition of common objectives, and conducted in accordance with the principle of an open market economy with free competition.
2. Concurrently with the foregoing, and as provided in the Treaties and in accordance with the procedures set out therein, these activities shall include a single currency, the euro, and the definition and conduct of a single monetary policy and exchange-rate policy the primary objective of both of which shall be to maintain price stability and, without prejudice to this objective, to support the general economic policies in the Union, in accordance with the principle of an open market economy with free competition.
© Graham Bishop
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