UK Snarls Talks Intent On Birthing A New EU Beast: French President Snubs Brit PM In Retaliation
December 9th, 2011
UK Daily Mail
This is the moment that Nicolas Sarkozy demonstrates exactly what he really thinks of David Cameron's veto of the EU Treaty change.
After a gruelling all-night sitting in Brussels, Mr Cameron approaches the French president with his hand outstretched, as if ready to shake and show there are no hard feelings.
But not only does Mr Sarkozy refuse to acknowledge the PM, he actually does a swift swerve aside, waving pointedly to someone - anyone - on his right.
Mr Cameron, roundly snubbed, uses the rejected hand to give Mr Sarkozy a seemingly affectionate - if awkward - pat on the shoulder, and moves on, head held high, with a pained smile fixed to his face.
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Mr Sarkozy's snub came after all-night talks in which the leaders of the 17 countries that use the euro, plus six others, agreed to a new treaty enforcing stricter budget rules seen as crucial to solving Europe's debt crisis.
Efforts by Germany and France to persuade all 27 EU countries to agree to treaty changes failed, in large part because of Mr Cameron's refusal to give up some of Britain's powers.
Mr Sarkozy laid the blame for the failure squarely at Mr Cameron's feet.
Speaking shortly before dawn, after what he called a 'difficult' night, he said: 'David Cameron made a proposal that seemed to us unacceptable, a protocol to the treaty that would have exonerated the United Kingdom from a great number of financial service regulations.'
Mr Cameron defended his stance.
'What was on offer is not in Britain's interest so I didn't agree to it,' he told reporters in Brussels.
'We're not in the euro and I'm glad we're not in the euro.'
'We're never going to join the euro and we're never going to give up this kind of sovereignty that these countries are having to give up.'
text-align: left; text-decoration: none; border: medium none;">An agreement on fiscal discpline is considered a critical first step before the European Central Bank, the International Monetary Fund and others would commit more financial aid to help countries like Italy and Spain.
Even after the long-awaited deal, watched by governments and markets worldwide, the European leaders have huge hurdles still ahead.
They are meeting again later today to work out what exactly their new treaty will contain and how violators of its strict budget rules will be policed. They want it written by March.
Britain led the push against the revised treaty tying all 27 EU countries to tighter fiscal union. The others that didn't sign on were Hungary, the Czech Republic and Sweden.
Mr Cameron argued that the revised treaty would threaten Britain's national sovereignty and London's financial services industry.
Most EU countries had pushed for an EU-wide accord to avoid a split, but Germany and France made clear that a deal among the 17 euro countries and whoever else wanted to join was better than nothing.
The governments signing onto the new treaty will have to agree to allow unprecedented intervention in national budgets by EU-wide bodies.