The problem is that David Cameron has demanded renegotiation according to his own priorities, and they don’t reflect the issues that really face the UK.
What are these issues?
Well, they’re about how well-off UK citizens are in the EU – how well our membership helps protect our rights, our health, and our economy.
None of these things have been discussed on the national or international forums.
Is the Working Time Directive good or bad? Do you even know what it is?
What about EU rules on working people’s health and safety? Did you know there were any?
What about human rights? This, at least, is something we’ve heard mentioned – right?
Instead, we get empty promises and staged dramas.
In the final hours ahead of the summit, the bigger problems are now on the European rather than on the British side. It has often been surmised that for domestic consumption, the prime minister needed a confected drama in Brussels – Cameron as St George snatching victory from the jowls of the EU dragon.
But the Europeans are consumed by bigger crises – immigration, for example. They do not need a staged confrontation with Britain. The differences look real rather than fabricated.
Several countries are unhappy about the perceived belittling of the notion of “ever closer union” spelt out in the proposed settlement to satisfy the British. Cameron needs this treaty stipulation to be codified by eventual treaty change, but there is no final agreement yet to amend the EU treaties. The same applies to the new rules demanded by George Osborne to ensure what he says would be a level playing field in financial regulation between the eurozone and those not in the euro.
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