Cameron's empty EU veto threat

Updated: 
David Cameron is affecting a mini-tantrum about a revised Lisbon treaty. He claims he will not sign it unless there are assured safeguards to ensure the City of London's future.

In reality, Cameron's tough words are an effort to toss a few chunks of red meat in the direction of his eurosceptics. Cameron will likely receive some assurances from Merkel and Sarkozy that amount to - well, what?


Conditions

Not much. Arguing or tub-thumping for more special treatment safeguards for the City of London won't return Cameron much of a result. Should the Europeans opt for a 17-state eurozone-only treaty, by-passing the British, he will have no lever left to pull.

Remember too that many Europeans continue to blame the City of London and Anglo Saxon traders for its part in the eurozone crisis. Certainly the City, along with the global international banking community, played a substantial role. But such finger-pointing fails to direct the finger back at European politicians who spent many years racking up debts they were unable to pay back.

Isolated

Angela Merkel and Nicolas Sarkozy will not be losing any sleep. "If they choose to go ahead with a separate treaty then clearly that's not a treaty Britain would be signing or amending," says Cameron. "But if they want to use the European institutions then Britain will be insisting on the safeguards and the protections that Britain needs."

Tough talk but it's empty stuff and includes, note, no mention of an opt-out front the EU working time directive - a key demand from Cameron just a few weeks ago - and other British-specific trade demands. Britain simply lacks the moral clout to demand concessions, which Cameron must know at heart.

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