Mats Persson

Rudd’s straw man argument about our EU membership

As the isolation hysteria over Cameron’s EU veto starts to fade, attention is now shifting to the more existential question of what kind of relationship the UK should have with Europe. In a piece for today’s Times (£), the chairman of Business for New Europe, Roland Rudd — who, incidentally, used to argue passionately in

26 versus 1 — really?

Judging from much of the coverage in UK media, you would be forgiven for thinking that Britain is on the fast track to becoming the North Korea of Europe — eccentric and completely isolated from the rest of the world. Indeed, the media narrative over the past couple of days has largely treated the agreement

Ten myths about Cameron’s EU veto

The EU veto that Cameron pulled in the early hours of Thursday morning has been widely misunderstood on all sides. Here are the 10 most common myths: 1. Because of Cameron’s veto, Britain lost a seat at the negotiating table. Not true. The UK was never itself going to take part in the Merkozy pact

Cameron may have more leverage in Europe than he thinks

There’s just over a week to go until the crunch EU summit on 8-9 December, so David Cameron has to decide how best to play his cards — and quick. The problem, as Daniel Korski has pointed out, is that Britain faces the risk of ‘structural isolation’ in Europe in the short-term. To counter this,

Europe, and the UK, should be much more proactive about Portugal

As Portugal bites the dust – following Ireland and Greece in asking for an EU bail-out – the most important question is still not being asked by EU policy-makers, or by the British government for that matter: will a bail-out actually solve any of Portugal’s problems? The simple answer is, it won’t. Asking the European

Cameron’s €4 billion Portuguese challenge

As if the budget and Libya weren’t enough, the UK Government woke up today with another major challenge on its hands – yet another flare-up in the eurozone debt crisis, which has been continuing to bubble away under the radar.   Yesterday, Portugal’s Prime Minister José Sócrates literally walked out of Parliament, during a debate

The EU should impose sanctions on Gaddafi’s Libya

The EU spends €460 million a year in operational costs alone on its new foreign policy department, the External Action Service, headed up by Catherine Ashton. This body – created by the Lisbon Treaty – was Europe’s ‘great white hope’ for the global stage, finally allowing it to speak with one voice and therefore giving

Remember this?

“We will want to prevent EU judges gaining steadily greater control over our criminal justice system by negotiating an arrangement which would protect it. That will mean limiting the European Court of Justice’s jurisdiction over criminal law…” That was David Cameron a year ago when he presented the Tories’ EU policy ahead of the General

Opposing the EU Bill

The EU Bill is back in parliament today, amid speculation that Cameron has a Europe-fuelled rebellion on his hands. Despite the talk, the chances are that the Bill will go through Parliament wholly unscathed in its first test.   Today’s debate is about the so-called ‘sovereignty clause’ – or Clause 18 – within the EU

What Cameron should push for in Brussels

As David Cameron stays in Brussels for his third European summit as PM, it’s becoming increasingly clear that the EU’s approach to the eurozone crisis – put up short-term cash and pray – isn’t convincing anyone.   On Wednesday, Moody’s threatened to downgrade Spanish government bonds another notch, citing the fact that, between them, the

Britain may not be able to avoid bailing out the Irish

This morning, it sounds as though Ireland has finally buckled to demands that they accept a bailout from the EU. Their central bank governor, Patrick Honohan, has said that he expects a “very substantal loan” from Europe – although the details, and debtees, are yet to be clarified. In the UK, of course, backbench MPs

A wasted opportunity for EU reform?

David Cameron made his statement on last week’s EU summit yesterday, answering a range of questions on the 2011 EU budget increase and future changes to the EU treaties. The Tory backbenchers appeared to be on their best behaviour, but Cameron did make an interesting admission. Asked by Ed Miliband if he would he be

Cameron must play his cards well to win in Europe

The British media woke up this week, realising that Europe still exists. As David Cameron travels to Brussels, questions loom over what, exactly, he can achieve in Europe – at this summit, and more importantly, moving forward.   Much of the commentary surrounding the summit has focussed on the increase to the EU’s 2011 budget,

Time for a new approach to the EU

All eyes are on the spending review, but yesterday another potentially huge challenge landed in the Coalition’s in-tray: the prospect of a new EU treaty.   In the small town of Deauville in Lower Normandy, French President Nicolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel struck another of those ‘Franco-German compromises’ that tend to set the

Finessing the coalition’s EU referendum lock

The Coalition Government’s proposal for a ‘referendum lock’ on future transfers of powers to the EU has already been branded “worthless” by some Tory backbenchers . It’s easy to share their frustration at the Coalition’s lack of interest in EU reform so far. After all, the Government has chosen to opt in to the European