Today I will give my full support to David Cameron for using the UK veto. His requests were modest in return for accepting a new Treaty for the 27. Indeed I thought his offer was too generous, and I would have been very unhappy if France had accepted and we were lumbered with a new Treaty.The French did not want to do a deal. He had no alternative but to say “No” to their proposals.
62% of the public agree, and only 19% disagree. Most of you have written in support. A few are trying to make out he did not veto the Franco-German proposals. Everyone else knows he did, and the French clearly behaved in a way which shows he did. Please try to keep your comments sensible. UKIP could occasionally say “Well done” instead of carping at everything. They would have had something to complain about if a deal had been done on bad terms.
It is said to be axiomatic that the UK needs to be in the EU in order to be in the single market. It is implied we would lose all 3 million jobs said to be dependent on exports if we fell out with the EU. We are told that business would never forgive us if we lost influence over the rules and regulations affecting business and trade.
As someone who has in the past led industrial businesses exporting from the UK, these comments seem very unrealistic. When you export to a foreign country you expect to have to comply with their rules and with the customer requirements. The UK has no special influence over the rules and laws in Asia, Latin America, North America or Africa, yet we export substantial amounts to those places. The UK exports far more goods and services outside the EU than within it, and even in the case of physical goods the true total is around 60% of our exports go to non EU territories. It shows that having a say over the rules is not crucial to winning an order. Nor would France and Germany want to lose the very profitable trade they enjoy with us if the UK demanded different arrangements with the EU.
The danger for us as the EU tries to become a unitary highly regulated state is that the EU imposes rules and regulations on us which as a member we will have to follow at all times. This means applying their expensive demands even when making for export to non EU countries, or for the home market. Our competitors outside the EU do not face similar impositions. Whilst business people put up with regulatory demands in important customer countries where all competing there have to comply, they do not like us facing higher costs and controls when exporting to parts of the world where no such similar rules are enforced.
The Uk needs a new relationship with the emerging Euroland country on the continent. We would like arrangements to facilitate trade, and allow friendly collaboration where it makes mutual sense. The Lib Dems seem unhappy about the use of the veto, and will doubtless try to prevent a move towards the renegotiation we now need, or to a referendum so the UK electors can express their view. They should look at the polling. The Uk electorate is keen to have a looser and more worthwhile relationship with the continent. The Commons may still have a federalist majority, but this is wholly unrepresentative of the public view on the question of the EU. I doubt the Lib Dems want an election anytime soon.
I will turn to other topics tomorrow, but the EU has been the dominant news issue for the whole week-end.