December 9th, 2011
10:50 AM GMT
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London (CNN) – Ten hours around the negotiating table were not enough to convince British Prime Minister David Cameron to back down on his demands for safeguards to his country’s interests.

As such, the leaders of France and Germany showed him to the door and decided to settle for closer budget discipline among eurozone countries. According to German Chancellor Angela Merkel: "David Cameron sat with us at the table, we made a decision for this text, we do not have time for weak compromises regarding the euro."

The result of round one of this week's "battle of Brussels" was widely expected but it does raise the worrying prospect of a two-tier Europe emerging, with the 17 euro-using members on one side and most of the remaining 10 non-eurozone states on the other.

Speaking ahead of the European Union leaders’ last "Save the Euro" summit on October 26, Benedicta Marzinotto, of think tank Bruegel, said the emergence of an economic split between the two was already evident. “Whether it’s the eurozone emerging faster or the other group being faster I’m not sure (yet),” she said then.

Even before this week’s proposed treaty change Marzinotto says mooted amendments to the governance structure have started pointing in that direction for a while.

Britain doesn’t share the euro. So, what’s the big deal?

It's true that for more than a decade countries like the UK have been on the outside of Europe's core currency union and during that time they have made a pretty good go of monetary independence.

Being outside the eurozone has its benefits. States can print money to stimulate the economy when needed, and the subsequent inflation has an added bonus of shrinking the country’s debt pile. Okay, the flipside is a gradual erosion in buying power - but at least you can avoid more than 20% unemployment, like Spain.

Eurozone countries on the other hand cannot inflate their way out of their problems because the ECB keeps a tight lid on price increases.

Granted, signing up to a treaty that could give more powers to a eurozone dominated by a Franco-German axis does seem a bit far-fetched, especially if the new framework is designed to underpin a currency you don't even use.

 

But risking your long-term friendship by blunt refusals could also have long-term consequences for countries holding out against Europe’s so-called fiscal compact.

This is because they risk being marginalized when future key economic decisions are tabled.

The UK’s economy is heavily skewed towards financial services in particular which is why Cameron is so keen on safeguards and an option to opt-out of financial transaction taxes Germany and France are adamant they will introduce.

London’s banking sector in Britain is a huge earner for the government, accounting for 11.2% of nationwide tax income last year.

Yet British industry is not as diversified as some of its powerful eurozone neighbours - like France and Germany - where manufacturing is still a hugely important and successful part of their economies. If we do get another credit crunch it will feel the pain more, just like in 2008.

The UK may be Europe’s biggest “Island Nation” but it cannot afford to become isolated economically from its EU neighbors.



soundoff (250 Responses)
  1. UnbiasedMann

    What Great Britain is failing to realise is that the world is changing and segmenting into large blocs. You have the US, China, Russia, India, Brazil, and the EU. Those are and will continue to be the dominating forces in the World. By alienating itself from the EU, Great Britain is risking becoming irrelevant on a global scale. With that irrelevance comes a loss of influence for getting what they want in the future. I believe today's shortsightedness will cost Great Britain dearly in the decades to come.

    December 9, 2011 at 11:33 am |
  2. Christian Ellul

    There are other island nations besides the UK, although very small and cannot be compared to the UK, Malta and Cyprus are the other two island nations forming part of the eurozone. As this article seems to incorrectly imply that the UK is the only island nation in the EU.

    December 9, 2011 at 11:37 am |
  3. Bruno

    S&P downgrades UK to junk status. S&P upgrades Europe to AAA.

    December 9, 2011 at 11:37 am |
  4. Bruno - is a fool.

    Bruno – nice lies.

    December 9, 2011 at 11:41 am |
  5. nuru

    Mrs Cameron i does not have to suit your opinion or favours your country alone. This an opinion for the entire continents , the eu members i mean.

    December 9, 2011 at 11:48 am |
  6. Jack Randall

    Hate to break it to you Bruno but the opposite is actually happening.

    December 9, 2011 at 11:49 am |
  7. Jeff

    Two tier Europe again? Nobility and peasants...sounds as if Europe is headed back to familiar territory.

    December 9, 2011 at 11:52 am |
  8. Shiva B.

    letting the core EU countries decide on tax treaties for countries that don't use the currency seems quite impractical. Granted that Mr. Cameron might be doing his best to appease the nationalists (what word do you use for a combination of Tories and the liberal democrats?), but for UK to subject itself to decisions where it wouldn't be in a position to influence treaties would be painful in the long term.

    December 9, 2011 at 11:58 am |
  9. Does it matter

    It sounds like Europe is going back to 1500 AD for some mysterious economic reasons. This will have catastrophic consequences. Money is the thing that will drive one crazy and take down to the nadir.

    December 9, 2011 at 12:06 pm |
  10. John McD

    The article is mis-informed. There was no requirement for the UK to sign up to the fiscal controls that the Eurozone wanted internally. All that was asked was that the UK agree to let the Eurozone keep those arrangements within the EU framework. They refused not because they didn't want those restrictions (they would not have applied to them anyhow) but because they wanted assurances on future issues. Somewhat akin to arriving at your neighbours burning house where they ask for help and you say... only if you let me borrow your lawnmower next Summer...

    December 9, 2011 at 12:10 pm |
  11. Victor

    Stricter budget policy from the Stability and Growth Pact SGP can be placed for the 17 Euro Members according to Enhanced Cooperation.

    December 9, 2011 at 12:14 pm |
  12. Victor

    EU Member States may request Enhanced Cooperation in areas covered by the Treaties, with the exception of areas of exclusive Union competence. The Commission will assess the request and it may submit a proposal to the Council in this respect. If the Commission decides not to present a proposal, it will explain its reasons to the Member States concerned.
    If the Commission presents a proposal, the authorisation to proceed with the enhanced cooperation is then granted by the Council after obtaining the consent of the European parliament.

    December 9, 2011 at 12:14 pm |
  13. Andrew

    Does Cameron really think that the UK alone has any chance in the world? Against the US, the EU, China & co.? If so, than we will soon see the total end of the British "empire" as we know it. Have the British people never heard about "globalization"? Fools!

    December 9, 2011 at 12:15 pm |
  14. Victor

    There is no need of UK involvement if the 17 proceed to launch ENHANCED COOPERATION!!!

    December 9, 2011 at 12:15 pm |
  15. Abhiram Modak

    It is hard to say at this point in time whether Britain will suffer in the long term or not, but it is quite likely. I am not sure if Scotland can or will tomorrow join the 'EU Ltd'. If that happens it is effectively disintegration of UK itself. One thing is clear though when the UK politicians are talking about UK they are actually only talking about London!

    December 9, 2011 at 12:18 pm |
  16. Victor

    The UK is heavily indebted in terms of fiscal policy and on top of that the public deficit is outside EU norm. Of course, UK does not want to comply with Stability and Growth Pact. So what, the 17 can cope with that, if the 17 follow enhanced cooperation to make the SGP automatically stricter.

    December 9, 2011 at 12:19 pm |
  17. Miss Demeanor

    So in a nutshell...all that remain of the british empire is a money-laundering offshore banking industry and a fear of German domination? Sounds like the dark ages are returning to their clammy island nation. Well done old chaps.

    December 9, 2011 at 12:20 pm |
  18. Victor

    The UK can print money out of nothing in order to cover public deficits BUT the 17 Euro countries cannot!!!

    December 9, 2011 at 12:22 pm |
  19. kazan

    From the start the UK and some others were not pro Euro, whether or not they were right is not relevant at this stage, now that the Euro is in trouble we can't expect them to be pro new measures to save the Euro. I believe that the leaders of the Euro zone are more committed to save the Euro, and are looking for long term solution.

    December 9, 2011 at 12:25 pm |
  20. Andrew

    Ahah... "the UK can print money out nothing in order to cover public deficits". A nice joke (I hope you're not serious!).

    December 9, 2011 at 12:26 pm |
  21. Edd

    The problems for Cameron are simple really, he is the prime minister of a country that is not allowed a referendum on being part of Europe as it will vote No, so with this background he cannot just give in. Also the transaction tax to help prop up the euro that we are not a part of will take most of it's money from our tax revenue rather than from Euro member countries, at least not to the same degree. That’s the same as us asking for a tax on German manufacturing or French farming to help the pound. The European Union can’t even have its own accounts signed off and yet wants to have power of the member stated accounts with the power to punish as well!?!?! I am against joining the euro but I think we should try to help. I don’t think we should be dragged in to paying for it though, we have already pumped money in to the IMF I believe to help. We shall see how the Euro countries get on being run by Germany and France as that appears to be what’s happening, all members are equal but some are more equal than others it seems.

    December 9, 2011 at 12:32 pm |
  22. Christopher

    Stu@1215, I think your comment is uncalled for. I think its fine to disagree with someone's views but I'm sure you wouldn't say the same if Nina was a guy, would you? I bet you wouldn't have the guts to say the same face to face but hey, its easy to hide behind the web.
    Moving to the topic of the article, I think it's about time the UK realised that they are increasingly becoming a bit player in the world economy. Of all the "major" powers that have declined in the last 100 years or so, the UK leads the pack. The only "hope" European countries had was to unite to give themselves a fighting chance but I guess the UK simply cannot bear the fact that they are far from the pre-eminent power in the world, they are not even number one in Europe anymore so essentially if anyone puts forth an idea, they will reject it if it isn't one of their own. So long, you were a great country!

    December 9, 2011 at 12:35 pm |
  23. radekk

    United Kingdom should be excluded from the European Union immediately. UK wants to take full advantage of the European Union but does not want to give anything in return. If they block the development of Europe, let him leave in the shadow of Europe.
    Conservative in his views in Cameron moves away from a united Europe.
    Credit rating agencies unduly reduce the credibility of the subsequent members of the european union.
    Well, but United States of America must find a place somewhere for freshly printed banknotes, and the deliberate reduction in the value of the euro against the dollar heavily helps them do that (using the rating agencies, of course). You will also recalled that during the Lehman Brothers bankruptcy had the highest rating of AAA.
    So this is how some people have power in the form of manipulation of national currencies.

    I will only add that the UK can not afford to join the euro zone because of its actual debt (including debts and companies) reaches almost 500% of GDP ...

    December 9, 2011 at 12:45 pm |
  24. Hiru_KSA

    @Christian Ellul
    I guess you need to improve your concentration while reading. This article does not say that UK is the ONLY ONE nation EU, instead it mentiones that UK is the BIGGEST island nation in EU. Try to distinguish between ONLY and BIGGEST.

    December 9, 2011 at 12:47 pm |
  25. Loya

    There is one £ against 17 € + 6 ready for Compact € Treaty. The descendants of Ex Empire can not bear to see vanishing of black bowler hats, umbrellas in hand in The CIty (London Exchange): English Brokers. Losing 11% of GDP by €s taking the Clearing House to Brussel can not be digested Brits.. My enigma is why an non Euro £ Country in a distant Island should rip the cream of how Euro Countries handle their own currency and finance in Main Land. Its time for Cameron to go back home and play with his £. His Tory Party had always hated EU. He will get Hero's welcome isolating itself from gang of bullies and beggars. By the way a message to Tories: Empire has been snuffed out long back. No free food and gold ships from Colonies. Ask Lords to work with own hands like Germans do.

    December 9, 2011 at 12:50 pm |
  26. Carlie Chap

    The issue for Britain is that if the EU introduce more reforms and taxes on financial services, Britan will essentially be bailing out Europe when we (I live in London) are struggling here ourselves. France and Germany know the gains they can milk from the British financial sector and we already pay more than we gain to the EU. I don't think we are acting selfish, we are merely defending ourselves from in many ways, an attampt to tax Britain (who have previously refused to bail out EU countries). We are the financial capital on the EU, so any tax on finances is really a tax on Britain.

    December 9, 2011 at 12:50 pm |
  27. Dhillon

    Euro should adopt US currency.

    December 9, 2011 at 12:52 pm |
  28. Anjouan

    Am I the only one who thinks that David Cameron may be representing the City of London and English banking interests rather than the interests of the United Kingdom? They are not always the same thing.....

    December 9, 2011 at 12:53 pm |
  29. Baz

    This is just the beginning. There is more to this than just the financial side of things. Britain does not want to be controlled by some super state that tells us what we can and can't do. We already have too many rules that we have to abide by, this is the first step in telling the EU that we want to run our own country, that we want to make our own decisions and not be controlled by a majority decision by other countries.
    I'm all for the EU, but there needs to be a balance between national interests and the bigger picture.

    December 9, 2011 at 1:03 pm |
  30. OrangeJuice

    Radekk,

    The UK is the 2nd largest net contributor to the EU, so of course when you say that it doesn't give anything in return, is utter nonsense. The Brits are second only behind Germany, a country with 22 million people more.

    This treaty was effectively a tax on a non-Euro country to pay for the debts of the Euro. How about a tax on the $ to pay for the yen? Madness. 80% of the money raised would have come from a Non-Euro country, to prop up the Euro. The other 20% would have come from 26 other countries. In no way was this fair. There was nothing else that would disproportionately hit a single country in this way. It was Franco-German bullying at its best.

    The UK has always been unpopular in Europe, it's nothing new. It will be forever more. We're used to it, it's not pleasant but we've never given up our sovereignty as easy as others seem to. We've always had an un-easy relationship with Europe, we're a pain in the backside because we don't agree to go in head first for every crazy proposal presented to us. Remember, this is all about closer union tied to a failing currency.... and we're attacked for questioning it. Also, the people of Europe have still not been asked, this isn't the free, liberal, 21st Century democracy that Europe was meant to be... it's something far more sinister.

    Geographically we Brits are European, mentally and culturally we are not European. The only thing now is that the EU-23 get even closer, with their books presented to Germany before they present to the public, and that the UK will have a referendum to get out of the EU.

    If the EU-23 are happy with this, good luck to them. But don't begrudge a single nation for wanting different. If we are nothing but a hindrance to the EU, then I'm sure it will be a win-win for all concerned.

    December 9, 2011 at 1:10 pm |
  31. Andrew

    @Carlie Chap
    If you would read the statistics about financial transactions (compared to the GDP and the number of inhabitants) in all the EU countries, you would see that number one is Germany, number two is the UK (but 43% of the financial transactions made in the UK are made by companies that are not British, so at the end the money doesn't stay in the UK).

    December 9, 2011 at 1:10 pm |
  32. Diesel Eyes

    If the Europeans want to unify, they should copy the United States of America. We have a system that works. States have soveriegnity within their borders but not authority over inter-state commerce. There are huge conflicts over "state's rights" ans whether the Federal government can mandate schools to be integrated, etc. Some programs are Federal such as Pell grants to low-middle income college students. States fund their own school systems. States cannot wage wars or make treaties with foriegn nations.

    If the Europeans want a United States of Europe, then fine and dandy but the Germans should consider they may be out-voted by everyone else. And German tax money may flow into the hands of Greeks because the poor gang up on the rich!

    December 9, 2011 at 1:12 pm |
  33. Hmmm

    Thats the problem, EU was originally (and should be) TRADE union, not some kind of federacy. I think most people are not interested in it. Especially when It would be basically few large countries dominating the rest.

    December 9, 2011 at 1:14 pm |
  34. The mission

    When the UK joined the Common Market it joined to be part of a 'free trade' block. At no stage did the British people, want political or economic union. If a vote were called to join the Euro the vast proportion of the population would vote 'no'. The British people also did not want to cede governance to Brussels. This has happened and there is a massive backlash. We want to retain our sovereignty and our freedom. We do not wish to be part of an unelected or acountable socialist oligarchy. Now the Germans, French and other quislings may enjoy being controlled Thats up to them! If there are consequences to leaving I welcome it because it's a hell of lot better than being part of the Forth Reich!

    December 9, 2011 at 1:18 pm |
  35. Neo

    A good day for the real Europe, a bad day for the Brits! British influence and power is in decline..

    December 9, 2011 at 1:21 pm |
  36. John

    UK descided for go on support the bankster instead of being part of a superior european future facing a globalized world! Foolish english people!

    December 9, 2011 at 1:24 pm |
  37. alerta

    There will be a european federation within the next 10/20/30 years. With the rise of China, India and Brazil the Western World will have to face player which doesnt represent "western ideologies" they (India..) will be able to dictate smaller countries their rules (like the Western World do at the moment with Afrika/Asia). The Question is, do you want to be part of a european Federation that cares about the interest of their "Union-States" or China/India.. will rule your markets.

    The thing about money is, that in the world there is always the rich once and the poor once. Not everybody can be rich.

    December 9, 2011 at 1:24 pm |
  38. radekk

    If you are not tied to the UK and Europe – this is the craziest idea I ever heard.

    Can you Brits really you want it, and still promotes the particular nation, separate from the rest of the world. Well, but the reality is completely different. Great Britain is in Europe and is mentally linked with Europe, and always will.

    If the UK is not by. Europe is what you just have to say for example, the Poles (and other countries of central Europe) ... who are mentally different from the rest of Europe more than England from Greenland.
    David Cameron is a conservative, nationalist politician, so his words did not surprise me. But I guess he forgot about it by signing the European Treaty agreed to adopt the Euro, the issue only when ... This can and should be in 200 years but the UK is not obliged to contest. Saying that the UK will never enter the euro zone breaks the law of the Union.

    The British once again trying to play themselves, and to be desired once they were not disappointed on this approach.
    Because British boasting already know. Even with World War II, where traitors were launched in Europe on the heroes. Their alliance pacts were broken on 1 September 1939 when he feared to declare war on a German

    December 9, 2011 at 1:28 pm |
  39. PJ

    I don't believe Britain should be involved with the EZ at all. It was a disaster from the beginning and until they remove those countries which cheat, steal and lie the Euro is a bad investment. The Greeks especially would protest at any effiorts to make them pay their way.

    December 9, 2011 at 1:30 pm |
  40. Tars Tarkas

    Relations between th EU and the UK are a two way street, as both need each other. Amongst many things, the EU needs the UK's oil and gas. Also, personally I'm deeply skeptical of the EURO as it is today, so I'm not entirely sure Cameron's decisions are wrong.

    December 9, 2011 at 1:34 pm |
  41. CJ

    The US not made the difficult decisions either. The Politicians are scared to cut the sacred cow spending that will prevent them from getting re-elected.It is a shame the US Politicians care more about their job than what is best for the United States. Believe me, both parties in the USA are guilty of this. I support neither side on this issue.

    December 9, 2011 at 1:34 pm |
  42. Henk

    " and most of the remaining 10 non-eurozone states on the other" CNN you liar. 8 of the 10 non Euro nations have indicated they are willing to go along with advancing a fiscal union with very strict rules and centralized power to oversee and correct.

    December 9, 2011 at 1:38 pm |
  43. The mission

    I really don't understand what Radekk's point is. 'British once again trying to play themselves', I'm sorry. Britain is a sovereign country and can do what it damn well likes. Not sure what your point is a you appear to have a really odd thought process and one hell of a stream on conciousness. Are you saying – Britain declared war on Germany in 1939 for no reason??? Hmm interesting if not bizarre thought process. Keep taking the medication.

    December 9, 2011 at 1:41 pm |
  44. The mission

    'Superior european future facing a globalized world!' oh John you are silly are you not..... Go live in your fantastical wonderland.

    December 9, 2011 at 1:44 pm |
  45. Alexander Walker

    I see this very simply.

    The UK CANNOT possibly accept having a transaction tax. Our economy is largely based on banking and it would ultimately cost hundreds of thousands of jobs. Blame Germany and France for being so selfish that they wouldn't exempt the UK from it, this is a proper unfair poke in the eye for Britain, causing her to look selfish when in fact, she had no other choice.

    December 9, 2011 at 1:46 pm |
  46. Marty Aberdeen

    Well said OrangeJuice!

    And enough already with the "Britain no longer has an Empire blah blah". Yes, we know! It seems like it's everyone else who keeps bringing this up.

    December 9, 2011 at 1:46 pm |
  47. Brad

    Your british are dumb. My company rocks just because of my country luckily use the euro! We export into the whole EU taxfree, while countries like switzerland and UK are blocked from doing business with us, because of the high currency conversion..

    Without the euro we would have like 20% less income!
    I totaly love the euro!

    December 9, 2011 at 1:47 pm |
  48. anillusion

    Britain could have been and should be in the Eurozone. There was no need for it to leave the Exchange rate mechanism but they panicked because the FX traders were targeting the pound but it would have recovered. This brings into question whether politicians who generally have little knowledge of economics should be put in charge of economic decisions. This was an opportunity for Cameron to change Britain's negative image among other EU countries but he blew it.

    December 9, 2011 at 1:48 pm |
  49. Tim Casey

    I believe David Cameron, was correct in not signing such an agreement. Whilst in theory many of the countries are going along with this agreement, when they finally submit their budgets and have unelected bureaucrats in Europe having to agree their own fiscal policies. In practice, many of the people within the countries such as Spain, Italy and Ireland will be appalled that these unelected people have to approve their budgets on spending such as health, education and other matters. It is clear that David Cameron is very far sighted and he knows that there will be an enormous backlash from the various countries and they will not accept this dictate that has basically been put together by the Germans and cooked in France. People are not stupid, and they will not allow this erosion of their sovereignty.

    December 9, 2011 at 1:51 pm |
  50. sting

    I glad britain held firm, keeping there Sovereignty intact F the NWO

    December 9, 2011 at 1:54 pm |
  51. William Demuth

    England is shifting towards a US allegiance and away from Europe..

    Seems this has happened in the past!

    December 9, 2011 at 1:55 pm |
  52. Sam

    You all seem to think that in Britain we are obsessed with the old empire and bitter that we no longer have one. I have to say that I don't think this is true at all, staying out of the Euro was one of the smartest things we did, just look at whats happened to it. Britain has already pumped a large amount of money into bailing out the Euro, just look at how much we loaned to Ireland. The issue is not one of pride its one of keeping sovereignty whilst remaining in an alliance that benefits all countries within it. This isn't the USA, the countries within Europe are very different and those that still can need to ability to manage themselves for the benefit of the whole continent. Taxing our large financial services to bail out a currency we are not part of is not in our interest so is it any wonder Cameron didn't sign the treaty?

    December 9, 2011 at 2:00 pm |
  53. Andrew

    Forgetting the subject... what a terribly written article! Some sentences do not make any sense whatsoever.

    December 9, 2011 at 2:01 pm |
  54. Peter

    Typically US approach to European politics. The US wants to force the UK into a fiscal and monetary union with Europe. Why? Why can't the US allow the UK to make it's own decisions for once as we have been very loyal supporters of the US. We've supported the US for so long and we fought alone until 1917 in the first world war and 1941 in the second world war so about time you gave us support instead of these useless comments that we should join European both monetarily and fiscally. I also can't stand so many any British comments on this web page. Everyone else hates the US apart from your natural friends and allies the British. About time some of the US people wised up to alienating Britain in this way. All these clichéd comments about lost Empire. We know already; shame you guys don't see your empire crumbling before your very eyes... At least we have the guts to make our own decisions without European involvement...

    December 9, 2011 at 2:02 pm |
  55. Ralf

    It was just in the news, ALL other NON-EURO countries will accept the treaty! UK is totaly isolated!

    December 9, 2011 at 2:02 pm |
  56. Hmmm

    I don't think it will be all Ralf.

    December 9, 2011 at 2:05 pm |
  57. Ahem!

    I hate to point to the obvious here, but the underlying issue that has the UK pulling away are privildeges for their banking sector. The banks will find some way to leave the UK hanging within 5 years. Banks are no one's friends.

    December 9, 2011 at 2:07 pm |
  58. ryan o'connor

    Theres no reason why the UK shouldn't leave europe, take norways example. The majority of people in the uk would opt out of europe if we got the oppertunity to do so! The european union is desperatly trying to stay together, i bet if you had a referendum on many countrys in the EU the majority of the people would opt out of the union. Well done to david cameron for finally standing up against this german-french dominated union!!

    December 9, 2011 at 2:10 pm |
  59. Andrew

    I find Merkozy's politics very sinister:

    They disliked Berlusconi (well who didnt?) and were instrumental in his downfall.

    THey disliked the low Irish corporate tax rate....soon to go.

    They were envious that London was the financial centre of Europe. It now looks ominous that Merkozy will use the power of the EU market to undermine London to global financial companies who wish to operate their.

    As a Brit, I can say the UK have definately been outmanovoured and it is worrying to see what nasty tactics Merkozy have instore to undermine the UK financial services industry. Yes the financial sector was to blame and should be regulated but the motives of Merkozy seems more about building strong financial centres in Frankfurt and Paris.

    December 9, 2011 at 2:13 pm |
  60. T

    Well.....just ask Greece and Spain how they did under the Euro experiment. It would have been best for them to devalue their own currencies since they can't compete with Germany/France. What exactly has the Euro done for the UK anyway? The UK has been better off devaluing its own currency and keeping its unemployment in check. What some have said is that the UK has isolated itself. More of the same useless rhetoric- that was said back when Euro started and now look!!! Propping up the Euro will make its goods and services costly compared to relatively cheaper UK products based on its lower currency- it will do fine.

    December 9, 2011 at 2:17 pm |
  61. Bob

    I live in a union of states where fiscal and monetary policy have been centralised since the 1700s. In this union there are clear economic differences between regions. Recently, there have been moves to DEVOLVE powers such as spending and taxation to certain member states.
    Perhaps the EU could learn something from this union – the United Kingdom – instead of the knee-jerk tax-the-banks policies that they wish to impose on a fellow member.

    December 9, 2011 at 2:19 pm |
  62. James

    @Andrew "Does Cameron really think that the UK alone has any chance in the world? Against the US, the EU, China & co.? If so, than we will soon see the total end of the British "empire" as we know it. Have the British people never heard about "globalization"? Fools!"

    No Andrew, you are the fool. Our country has been ruined by the EU. Of course we know what globalisation is, we were the people who started it in the first place. What we need is to diversify our internests and expand our exports to other countires, not just the EU. The UK does not need the EU and a 'partner', we have been used as a sponge to soak up Europes unwanted. No more, and things are changing and if it is done correctly, the UK could imerge to be a very strong nation. Remember, the Euro is flawed, it always has been. The slower countries will never be able to control thier own futures, all this has been done for France and Germany, no one else.

    December 9, 2011 at 2:29 pm |
  63. Ralf

    @James

    Andre is totaly right, but you Brits dont get the point. The world soon will have a population of 10 billion people.
    How will UK (50 million people= compete with those nation blocks and population of billions of people.?

    Your country has ruined itself by focus on the bankster (now protect them) and abolish the producing industrie!

    December 9, 2011 at 2:36 pm |
  64. Oliverson

    You can just read the envy and hatred of Britain in many of these postings, which I actually find to be flattering. Those posters don't state which country they come from but you can bet your bottom dollar (no pun intended) it is some feckless one. If Britain is so finished, so washed up, why do migrants flock there in record numbers? Why don't they just stay in beautiful Europe? Benefits are one reason, I'll admit but let's be honest, England is the best country in the world with a fantastic history and without the shackles of Europe, a marvellous future.

    December 9, 2011 at 2:43 pm |
  65. Jaffacake

    @Ralf

    Why do you need a massive population to compete with large countries? Germany was plenty successful before joining the eurozone – it didn't have a population of a billion people. Australia, Canada, South Korea, Singapore, Switzerland have all been prosperous without having a huge population. In fact, most countries have a population smaller than, or similar to, the UK population and many have been very successful.

    We need to remove this idea that economic success and relatively modest populations are mutually exclusive things.

    December 9, 2011 at 2:47 pm |
  66. Andrew

    Let's clarify. The UK has not left the EU-bloc and can still benefit from free trade within its market(albeit with the extra complexity of currency). It just has less influence in its direction. A lot can still happen. THe UK may become more successful, it may become more weaker. The Eurozone may have further political unrest as sovereignty is given to Germany and France. The French and German alliance might fracture. I do not think anyone can predict the outcome.

    December 9, 2011 at 2:56 pm |
  67. Jerome

    I'm french. We've done so much with our European partners since the WWW II for building a new partnership, a new economy, so much. While that time British have worked so much alone, for its own interests. Apparently the game is nearly over for one part. Good luck Mister Cameron!

    December 9, 2011 at 2:59 pm |
  68. Kyle

    I'm not sure this should even be called a "two-tiered" Europe, when the two-tiers are the 26 EU members and then the UK. Really this is just a backdoor way of Cameron and the Cons in the UK to get what they've always wanted, the UK out of the EU. Now the EU will move forwards to closer union leaving the UK out, creating more tension and more euro-scepticism in the UK. Not to mention this will create havoc in the UK, with pro-EU Scotland led by a majority separatist party (who by the way want Scotland to leave the UK and adopt the Euro). Appeals to protect London's financial industry don't carry any weight north of the border. Check mate David, you just handed the SNP exactly what they've wanted for more than a decade! In a year we'll be reading about the disintegration of the UK, not the EU.

    December 9, 2011 at 3:01 pm |
  69. A Brit

    Lots of garbage on here about empires and bowler hats. The people of the UK simply want to run our own affairs and become a successful independent nation that trades with the whole world. We are friendly to the people of Europe and enjoy the culture but do not want the EU which is a monstrous pyramid of waste and unnecessary regulation. UK is contributing £6.7Bn per year with almost no return while our only remaining successful industry (business and financial services) is under attack from Brussels.

    We may well lose influence in the corridors of power and not be part of a large block, but to the average British person that does not matter. We have learned from history and aspire to be like Canada, Norway, Singapore and Switzerland – economically successful and politically independent rather than trying to dominate others and run the world.

    December 9, 2011 at 3:04 pm |
  70. Andrew

    @Kyle "Appeals to protect London's financial industry don't carry any weight north of the border."

    If only RBS stayed north of the border.

    December 9, 2011 at 3:04 pm |
  71. Pete

    It is funny reading the comments here from people that do not live in the UK or even Europe talking about how the UK made a mistake and is a dead duck. To my fellow Americans, before you spout off about things you do not understand, look in the mirror and review the shape of America, the Brits have made a stand for what is best for there nation – good for them.

    December 9, 2011 at 3:09 pm |
  72. lolorofl

    23 over 27 agreed on the fiscal-Union
    3 will ask their parlament (hungary too, its in the news)
    and what does UK? Cameron is worried about London! Maybe the english people should stop focusing about swapping money from on bank to another and start productin real goods. The best thing would be if the UK leaves the EU, soon scottland will probably splitt themselves up from the UK and what is left? London.

    December 9, 2011 at 3:11 pm |
  73. jackinlondon

    Bravo Brave Prime Minister Cameron. This financial transactions tax will be a disaster. Ok, I know that the financials services industry are the villians Du JOUR, but let's think reasonably about this idea.

    Essentially, a financial transactions tax – while it sounds small – will CRIPPLE trading, and therefore liquidity, at a time that liquidity is already highly scarce. One relialble factor that creates liquidity in a financial market is a narrow bid-offer spread; in layman's terms, the spread is the differential between the buying price (bid) and the selling price (offer). The smaller the spread, the more efficient the market.

    Currently bid-offer spreads in more liquid corporate bonds are generally not much more than 25 basis points, often times even less than this. That means the differential between the bid for €1million worth of bonds, and the offer for the same €1million worth of bonds is €2,500. However, if this transaction tax is passed, that tax alone would be €1,000!!.

    Trading will become ridiculously expensive and inefficient under this proposal, which will do nothing but serve to create less efficiency in the market, and wider bid-offer spreads, since the cost of the tax we be then built into the price.

    Ultimately, it is the end user (ie funds, pensions, etc) who will pay the price for this wrong-headed policy, by failing to get more timely trade executions, paying more for an asset when they buy it in order to cover the cost of the transaction tax, and ultimately a poorer return on their money.

    What a foolish and poor idea. The EU, always ridiculously willing to tax anything, could easily be what Ronald Reagan was talking about when he said "Government's view of the economy could be summed up in a few short phrases: If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it."

    What a bad policy move. Good on David Cameron for standing tall. A hero for the modern age!

    December 9, 2011 at 3:15 pm |
  74. Jerome

    @ Pete I'm right with you. What about the US debt and the specific californian debt? Bigger than the eurozone's one? Wait and see

    December 9, 2011 at 3:16 pm |
  75. Kyle

    @A Brit – "We have learned from history and aspire to be like Canada" ... and Canada right now aspires to be listened to, trust me on that.

    December 9, 2011 at 3:17 pm |
  76. Mike

    There seems to be alot of hatred for the UK on here just because it's decided not to allow Germany more power. We we all just have to wait to see how it turns out. But in the end the UK will have retained more of their own powers and be proud to call themselves a country than other EU states that has handed over their nations on a silver plater.

    December 9, 2011 at 3:19 pm |
  77. Lonewolf

    @Andrew
    "If only RBS stayed north of the border"

    For more years than i care to remember they were the largest payer of coroporation rax to the UK government. Try using a little though process before posting such drivel

    December 9, 2011 at 3:20 pm |
  78. BobbyK

    Let us remember this meeting in Brussels and the treaty was about saving the Euro and nothing else. The “Merkozy” gang wished to take this ‘opportunity’ to impose a tax on financial transactions within the EU as part of the treaty. What on earth does this have to do with saving the Euro? Clearly, adding some money to the coffers to prop up failing Euro zone members does not hurt, but the last thing this will do is impress the markets (especially the bond markets), who are the people we need to impress if we are to get lending under control, with tolerable interest rates on the bonds of countries like Italy and Spain (As I write this bond rates are going up and not down for these countries, so this meeting is proving counterproductive for saving the Euro).

    The London Market dwarfs its European rivals and would have been paying the lion’s share of this tax, effectively meaning the UK is charged with paying for the Euro zones mismanagement. It would also have spelled the end of London as a global financial centre. A large majority of the transactions going through London are international and much of this business would clearly move elsewhere. There is absolutely no way The UK could sign up to this, it would have been economic and political suicide.

    One may worry about being on the fringes, like countries such as Norway and Switzerland who are in Europe, but neither in the EU or the Euro, but they rank third and fifth in the top 10 of Europe’s richest countries “per capita”, which is better than Germany, France, Italy and Spain (Europe’s largest economies) none of which are even in the top ten. I think the UK should get off the fringes and get out of the EU altogether and stop pumping Billions into the EU and take control of its own destiny (I sure this is a very contentious opinion). 51st state anyone?

    December 9, 2011 at 3:22 pm |
  79. Lonewolf

    sorry meant Tax not Rax.

    December 9, 2011 at 3:22 pm |
  80. akud

    Britain make the spirit soup

    December 9, 2011 at 3:23 pm |
  81. xrscorp

    Germany, through financial and industrial power, is now in control of mainland Europe with France as a temporary allie. What will be interesting is to see who leads all the governments of the new peasant class...Italy, Spain, Geece, Ireland, Portugal etc. when the next round of elections are held. Will these new leaders be the resistance or figure heads of a new European order? Britain is simply resisting being controlled by Germany and France. Sounds like history repeating itself doesn't it? Governing Europe is like herding cats! Good luck with that!

    December 9, 2011 at 3:30 pm |
  82. Oliverson

    @BobbyK – well said – couldn't agree more – let's get out immediately.

    December 9, 2011 at 3:36 pm |
  83. lolorofl

    @xrscorp your 20th Century fear of germany becomes a franko-german fear of the 21th Century.

    December 9, 2011 at 3:36 pm |
  84. R. Sanpanik

    "But risking your long-term friendship by blunt refusals could also have long-term consequences for countries holding out against Europe’s so-called fiscal compact."

    The UK should give into the rapacious demands of the bruts because to refuse is to lose their friendship? Would you tell your daughter that?

    December 9, 2011 at 3:36 pm |
  85. Mike

    What ever David Cameron decided it would have been a wrong decison anyway with those who want him to sign over sovereignty to another country and those who don't. an impossible task.

    December 9, 2011 at 3:39 pm |
  86. BobbyK

    To R. Sanpanik, I would say “with fiends like these, who needs enemies?”. I believe the meetings between Sarkozy and Merkel were engineered to either make the UK pay up or make them get out and they would have happily taken either, as one would mean getting more money, whilst diminishing a rivals economic situation and the other finally getting rid of the pain in the back side that is the UK who, very annoyingly, want to read the small print of every treaty they are asked to sign.

    December 9, 2011 at 3:50 pm |
  87. Arthur uzo

    The battle of Euro. British wins the first round.

    December 9, 2011 at 3:52 pm |
  88. Len

    Why put your country at risk for a fix that really doesn't work? The Euro is going to fail and it's smart for UK to not want anything to do with it.

    December 9, 2011 at 3:55 pm |
  89. Paul

    Hahaha, these messages make me laugh. Half the people on here seem to be iliterate, the other half seem to bang on about the Empire. I am British, I have never heard another Brit in my lifetime refer to the Empire as they do on here. It seems only foreigners get hung up about this – but answer this, if it wasnt for the Empire, you would be on here typing in English, can you not see the irony? – I guess not if you can not spell. If UK wants to go it alone, what is the problem and why do you all care, don't you all have enough problems with your economies to worry about us?

    December 9, 2011 at 4:05 pm |
  90. Andrew

    @Oliverson
    "England is the best country in the world with a fantastic history and without the shackles of Europe, a marvellous future".
    It's clear that you're kidding, since it's obvious that England (which is actually only a part of the UK) is nothing more than, probably, Texas, for its economic power and now, after Cameron's decision, nothing more than Rhode Island (sorry for the people of Rhode Island, no offense is intended) for its political influence.
    If the UK will continue to ignore globalization, that wasn't naturally "invented" by the British, and want to stupidly think that they can count something alone on the planet, then go ahead. But I'm sure the British are not so stupid: just give them some years to realize how isolationism doesn't pay.

    December 9, 2011 at 4:08 pm |
  91. Chris

    @Christian Ellud: your geography knowledge is flawed; the island of Ireland is another of the "island nations" that are in the Eurozone. The UK is a pollitical union of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland (in addition to other smaller islands in the area). The island of Britain comprises the countries of England, Scotland, and Wales. The island of Ireland comprises Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, which is an independent nation that is not part of the UK.

    In other words, Britain is a island and Ireland is an island. When you use the term "UK" you are referring to a political union and not both the islands of Britain and Ireland. It's really not that difficult

    December 9, 2011 at 4:10 pm |
  92. Oliverson

    @Andrew

    Envy is a terrible thing.

    December 9, 2011 at 4:12 pm |
  93. xrscorp

    History will not be kind on the subject of the Battle of Brussels. How do you like Fascism's makeover. Isn't she beautiful! Thank God Britian has balls.

    December 9, 2011 at 4:14 pm |
  94. Andrew

    @Oliverson
    Ignorance is even terrible.

    December 9, 2011 at 4:17 pm |
  95. Andrew

    Sorry: I wanted to write "... even more terrible" ;)

    December 9, 2011 at 4:18 pm |
  96. Oliverson

    I'm actually proud to be British today

    December 9, 2011 at 4:26 pm |
  97. John

    Comments on here are unbelievable.
    I'm a Brit. I do not live in the past, wear a bowler hat, march forwards looking backwards or any of the other xenophobic crap that comes from our so called friends in Europe (who by the way are very quick to admonish us when we stereotype them).
    All we want is to be left alone and trade freely with the rest of Europe. I don't think that is having our cake and eating it.
    We don't seek to dominate Europe, and we don't want domination from Europe. Rather than the UK, it is France and Germany that are being extremely selfish and are playing 19th century power games for their own benefit. Brits can see that Europe is becoming more protectionist and LESS DEMOCRATIC, that's why we don't want to be a part of it. Too many Europeans are mesmerized by the idea of this great new Europe to compete with America, so they don't see their own rights being taken away. Who voted for Von Rumpy or Barroso? How many Europeans really wanted the euro? How often does the normal Frenchman get to vote on treaty changes that profoundly effect his life?

    We have been down this road before, the writing is on the wall. Maybe Brits remember this better than others. Maybe it is sometimes best to march forwards with an eye in the past.

    December 9, 2011 at 4:27 pm |
  98. Lonzo

    Britain is smart not to sign away control of their economy to a group that's already demonstrated that it can't manage a taco stand. France and Germany have to foot the bill for all of Europe, but their goal of dominating the continent has never been shared by Britain.

    December 9, 2011 at 4:29 pm |
  99. Andrew

    @Lonzo
    Dominating the continent? Germany and France? It's just the big international financial and banking lobby that wants to dominate the world. Don't even think for a second that the UK and its politicians are there for the people. Wake up, ppl!

    December 9, 2011 at 4:32 pm |
  100. John

    Just one more thing, why do so many continental Europeans care what we do anyway. Why do you seek to deny us our independence? Right now it is Europe that sounds like an Empire.

    Also Britain understands globalization better than Europe. The UK embraces it, Europe is seeking to protect itself from it and will thus become irrelevant.

    December 9, 2011 at 4:36 pm |
  101. Voltairine

    As has been the cast since the start of this crisis, nothing has been done to improve unemployment by the erroneously-self-styled, “job creators”. At the same time everything done thus far has been to further enrich the already gargantuan mountains of loot hoarded by big business and big money with the enthusiastic support of their political minions. Meanwhile these same forces continue to decimate public jobs and services that are needed more than ever by the people of the world that they themselves have devastated. In effect, these one-sided, self-serving efforts of the, “elite”, whose profits continue to rise, make themselves more and more the minority as they command their governmental imps to focus exclusively on making themselves even more obscenely rich while perpetuating and exacerbating the agony and intense fury of the people, who they make more and more the majority. Inescapably, if this continues, if the already enraged masses are made to be even more livid by the elite and the governments they perverted into their own oligarchic corporatist states, there is no other outcome that can occur but revolution and civil/global wars, short of slavery for the vast majority of the worlds’ population to the elite in a more open and official way.

    December 9, 2011 at 4:36 pm |
  102. Mark

    Britain will never be isolated. Americans know that they have one ally in Europe that rose to their side on 9/11 without parsing their language to placate terrorist sympathizers masquerading as religious people. One ally stood with us, crossed the ocean to speak to our people and was unequivocal in its sympathy. That was just another indication in a long list of them that Britain is an ally worth having and worth protecting. Now, headed to the store to buy something British.

    December 9, 2011 at 4:36 pm |
  103. Andrew

    @John
    I think that, at the moment, the Europeans who are pro-EU would just hope to see the UK outside of the Union. But it'll never happen, since a UK outside of the EU would mean the end of the UK as we know it today.

    December 9, 2011 at 4:38 pm |
  104. John

    @Andrew
    "Dominating the continent? Germany and France? It's just the big international financial and banking lobby that wants to dominate the world. Don't even think for a second that the UK and its politicians are there for the people. Wake up, ppl"

    Conspiracy and nonsense. They just want to make money, sometimes corruptly. Some of those large companies are French and German based, they just do their trading and merchant banking in London.

    December 9, 2011 at 4:40 pm |
  105. Andrew

    @Mark
    I'm American (and proud to be!) but if my country should have to choose between the UK and the EU, I had no doubt: EU forever. At the end, we wanna make money. And we make money easier with some 300 million ppl other than less than 60!

    December 9, 2011 at 4:40 pm |
  106. kells

    Shame on Britain for retaining their individuality, freedom and self-determination. They should be more like France and Germany and use their money to buy continued economic superiority over the lesser states of Europe. Or like the lesser states of Europe that will trade away their rights so they can spend money they didn't earn. Let's start calling Ireland "North France", Spain will be "the French Western Frontier", Greece can be "South Germany" and Italy can be "Germany's wang".

    December 9, 2011 at 4:41 pm |
  107. Silver

    The UK has always been lukewarm on the EU concept. It always kept one foot outside the door. With Cameron's decision, he just lifted the other foot and I'm afraid he failed to grasp the need for compromise to at least maintain the UK's status quo. A perception of further distancing of the UK may force the private sector to allocate more future resources onto the continent. The UK is too small to go it alone. All deals involve compromise.

    December 9, 2011 at 4:41 pm |
  108. L

    I am from the US, bu t life seems to be pretty good in the UK without sharing a currency with the rest of the continent. I have been there and rather enjoyed it. The EU just wants to take a successful nation like the UK and redistribute it's wealth. Germany and France seem quite jealous of Britain and want them to join the Peoples Republic of Europe and rise and fall with them instead of standing alone and free of the economic shackles of the Euro. As for the comments about Canada and "wanting to be heard", I don't see people in Canada really complaining about thier quality of life. Canada is great.

    December 9, 2011 at 4:41 pm |
  109. BobbyK

    I think that, no matter what happens, the UK can do nothing to prevent itself from becoming a less influential country. The world is changing and new economies are emerging, that are larger, with larger and cheaper workforces. The US will be knocked from 1st to third in the next decade as the world order changes. Either the UK has its voice drowned out by a European super state, or it is drowned out as a smaller nation. This is just the way things are (sorry UK). Given the choice of super state or independent nation I believe that the UK could do better, providing a better quality of life for its citizens, out of the EU, but its decline on the political centre stage is inevitable no matter what. Does this really matter? How impressed other countries are with our diplomatic prowess, as a private person and company director, means little to me compared to general quality of life, which is often highest in the smaller countries.

    December 9, 2011 at 4:43 pm |
  110. Mark

    @Andrew: Get a clue! Ask any American if they want deeper ties with the French or Germans over the British and see what they say. Besides, no American businessman wants to sell product to a larger market that will fail to pay over a market that has always paid. Doubt you're American, certain you're not that bright.

    December 9, 2011 at 4:43 pm |
  111. Frog4America

    I'm just gonna nitpick for accuracy's sake. Germany's manufacturing industry has a quasi-monopoly on high-performance, high-quality goods and super-efficient services. France is in the same situation as the US regarding its manufacturing base. As for services, I now order most of the stuff I buy online from German retailers even though I live in France. Not only shipping from Germany to France is cheaper than intra-France shipping, customer service and satisfaction are not even in the same ballpark. Aware of the gulf between the two countries, the ruling elites are making it a priority to emulate the German model. There is no French-German axis, there is a new world role model, Germany, with France being the first country to openly ride its coattails. But France only plays a supporting role. What's at play is, is the 21st century German rather than Chinese. The UK and non-aligned countries like Poland and the Czech Republic were never intended to be equal partners, so they should capitalize on the current situation and create a union of their own, aligned with the US.

    December 9, 2011 at 4:46 pm |
  112. Andrew

    @Mark
    Live in your dreams. I hope you won't wake up to see the end of the "powerful" UK

    December 9, 2011 at 4:47 pm |
  113. JD

    and in a year when the Euro is toast and its users bankrupt or in a depression the UK will not look so foolish. . . time to wake up folks, the Euro is failing and they can't fix it.

    December 9, 2011 at 4:50 pm |
  114. Andrew

    @JD
    Yeah, and Santa Claus exists! :D

    December 9, 2011 at 4:51 pm |
  115. aurelius

    DeGaule was right. England should never have been allowed to join the Union. Cameron screwed it up and England just got the kiss of death.

    December 9, 2011 at 4:52 pm |
  116. Jim

    @Andrew – why the trollish comments? Why do you care? Nearly every Brit think's Cameron has done the right thing. Let us govern our own fate without bile from c you next tuesdays like you.

    December 9, 2011 at 4:52 pm |
  117. Bob

    @Mark
    Cheers mate. I'll raise a toast to you from this side of the Atlantic with a glass of Cabernet Sauvignon, Californian of course.

    December 9, 2011 at 4:52 pm |
  118. Andrew

    @Jim
    Unluckily, I live in the UK. It's not that bad, I have to admit. But when Cameron said that he did what he did in the interests of the UK, he just forgot to add "in the interest of the British banking and financial system". The people will never gain anything out of isolationism. And it's just a real pity for the UK

    December 9, 2011 at 4:55 pm |
  119. xrscorp

    Silver, there is a saying that you may find useful. "You can't suck and blow at the same time". Angela the Impaler and Sarkozy the Snake put Britian's back to the wall and forced a decision. 2000 years of history should have taught these thugs that is not a smart thing to try on Britian. We also have a saying about Germany...They are either at your throat or at your knees.

    December 9, 2011 at 4:58 pm |
  120. Andrew

    @Mark
    Thanks for the "you're not that bright". Since that's your argument, I don't even need to comment.

    December 9, 2011 at 4:58 pm |
  121. Chris Henry

    Bravo for the UK not becoming a part of the Socialist EU.

    December 9, 2011 at 4:58 pm |
  122. Erky

    The EU, it started off as the European Economic Community, and once this was achieved these bureaucrats had to keep taking things to the next level. So now we have this super state, that can't function properly unless everyone gives up their independence to a collective central power – you can't have a single currency otherwise. If someone else controls your money, you can't have any independence. This is true for the individual, and it's true for a nation.
    Unfortunately this central power consists of bureaucrats that nobody has voted for, and nobody has ever heard of. Herman Van Rumpoy – who the heck is this guy anyway? Now he is the president of the EU. At the end of the day the populations of every member state are only familiar with their own politicians, and are interested in their own affairs. Nobody wants to give up their sovereignty for the sake of an experiment. Where this is heading is a Europe controlled by the financial industry and a bunch of unelected career bureaucrats being able to veto the will of the people in every member country. This is democracy? Right now it's a kind of 'soft' tyranny, but I don't think it will be long before blood starts flowing in the streets.

    December 9, 2011 at 5:01 pm |
  123. Chris Ballard

    Cameron probably did the right thing. For decades the various european treaties (Lisbon, Maastricht) have taken advantage of the UK position as one of the richer countries by making British taxpayers contribute to schemes like the Common Agriculture Policy more than they'd ever be able to benefit. One of the reasons the UK didn't join the Euro was because of a latent fear that all of these countries being tied together would make it very difficult to stop thrashing around and drowning if/when the ship starts to sink.

    The UK has its own economic issues – over-reliance on the financial industry, no manufacturing base, an aging population with diminishing public funds to pay for them, etc – most of which would arguably be further exacerbated by signing up to what the Franco-German axis appears to have been advocating. it's possible that in 20 years time we'll look back and say "Wow, Cameron, you got that dead wrong" but it's equally possible that Euro will have failed, plunging 17 countries into crisis. The austerity measures that have already starting cutting a swathe through the british public sector are a necessary and painful start to what the UK and many other countries will have to do to balance the books once more.

    If anything, you're more likely to see the UK forge even closer business relations with the US (especially if a Republican wins the White House).

    I wonder how American would feel is NAFTA suddenly said that they should be the ones to set the Fed's interest rates and insist on using US taxpayer money to subsidise farmers in Mexico. (a rough and extreme example, I'll grant you)

    December 9, 2011 at 5:03 pm |
  124. Another Brit

    Today is certianly historic, I don't know if this is the biginning of the end of the Euro, or the end of the beginning. What I do know is that we would be in Italys position had we signed up. We would have immediately lost substantial tax revenue and so our debt/GDP ratio would have pushed us over the edge. Currently we are in a bad way, but we will work our way out of Gordons mess, given time and a steady hand on the tiller. Personally I'd love to see a Tobin tax imposed, but it must be global otherwise much of our tax revenue will up and go, probably to New York or Switzerland. Yes we do need much more manufacturing, a vastly more diversified economy, but we don't get there by killing off our best tax earner. As for global influence, the UK isn't as washed up as many believe, we have the 5th largest armed forces in the world (with or without carriers) only exceeded by nations many times our population. Geographically it's arguable we are well placed, within easy reach of Europe and the US, Europes financial centre, Some of the best engineering anywhere including Germany (not many F1 teams in Germany, which is better at production but comes to the UK for much development) Some of the worlds best Universities, far more than a country our size ought to have. We have the right ingredients we just need some time.

    I think Europe might just have shot itself in the foot today.

    December 9, 2011 at 5:08 pm |
  125. ThankForNotBeingBrit

    It's gonna be interesting to see the UK asking for help in the next decades and see the future Sarkozy or the future Merkel saying "I'm sorry, ask America"

    December 9, 2011 at 5:14 pm |
  126. qq

    I applaud the British for being very judicious in this matter. We in the US have been guilty of "coming to the rescue" far too many times to our own detriment.

    December 9, 2011 at 5:20 pm |
  127. max

    What great benefits does the UK realize from aligning tighter with the EU? They can do this at any time and to do so now puts their own economy at risk.

    December 9, 2011 at 5:21 pm |
  128. Nick Bowman

    I spend a lot of time in the UK and I live in the US. I think the UK has handled these difficult economic times exceedingly well – much better than the US and the continental European countries. The UK does not use the Euro, but will continue to work closely with European allies. Let's not over-react to this.

    December 9, 2011 at 5:22 pm |
  129. A.L.

    @Nick Bowman
    Your comment may be the only reasonable one that can be read on the whole page.
    At the end, the real problem of all western countries is that people are getting old and that our work force costs too much: this in the US, in the UK and in any other western country. Euro or not, we have to face the truth and expect a little worse situation for the years to come.

    December 9, 2011 at 5:30 pm |
  130. jersey355

    Can't really blame or criticize the UK, Sweeden, Hungary and the Czech Rep for not wanting to put their hides on the line for a currency system they never adopted. At this point it'd be like asking them to jump off the bridge with you!

    December 9, 2011 at 5:33 pm |
  131. coriolana

    Why should the UK take risks for the doomed Euro? Nothing they do will help-it's bound to crash and burn.

    December 9, 2011 at 5:34 pm |
  132. nickapo

    i found the article flat and outdated but the comments very interesting showing how much nationalism their is in this global world (interesting contradiction) and i am asking those against the euro – zone
    same of the us states are all most bankrupted but they can not depreciate their currency to improve their economy
    and how much are the single country's of the world really independent from the markets if they need to borrow founds (and most do)
    did brits have a choice ? i don't think so since their economy is based on the markets
    it would be interesting to ask this markets, which have so much power and opinions, what they see as a future for humanity and get an answer made of words and not numbers

    December 9, 2011 at 5:34 pm |
  133. Wilhelm C. Kast

    And Continental Europe must say no to Britain and it's fiscal casino mentality. Let them go, good riddance!

    December 9, 2011 at 5:43 pm |
  134. thomas

    England's economy is significantly smaller than France's.... Just a correction to someone who stated the opposite. England is not the second largest economy in Europe.

    December 9, 2011 at 5:46 pm |
  135. London

    For me it is a big mistake that our country doesn`t join the Euro and policies for the long run. We could be a big central leader of European advancement. But without it we will wither away. Just look at UK Exports at 411Billion dollars for 2010. Even a nation like Holland with 1/4 the Population had more export at 486 Billion dollars for 2010. What is it exactly that the UK still makes? Holland has massive agricultural exports from it`s greenhouse food industry. They also have companies like Philips and TomTom and Heineken, We even share some of our few big companies in dual companies Dutch/British like Royal Dutch Shell and Unilever. Again we in the UK have 4 times the population but less exports. This is ridiculous.

    So the UK exports are falling and it is now becoming more isolated. To say that is a good thing is laughable. The UK now has the largest disparity between rich and poor of any EU nation. Think riots in many UK cities like London.

    And the more it opposes European development the more European nations will leave Britain out of contracts (like loosing Airbus construction efforts which Germany and France will push to move to central Europe). And look at Scotland. Many Scottish are demanding to finally be allowed to vote on leaving the UK. As polls are indicating they would split. Our UK will Brake apart. Scotland would likely join the EU as a independent country. Long live nationalism right? The UK independence party are just a load of giant hypocrites not representing me.

    I will leave the UK if this continues and our country keeps like this and move to Holland or Germany.

    December 9, 2011 at 5:47 pm |
  136. Cláudio Carneiro

    The euro coin will come out stronger could be the strongest currency in the world the North American currency will move the second strongest currency in the world, the euro currency is a positive sign final attack and the euro currency ratings of the countries of the euro zone some countries without the euro will be stronger examples attacks UK, Switzerland, Russia, the United States and China.

    December 9, 2011 at 5:48 pm |
  137. MJ

    Those socialist European welfare states are doing quite well, huh?

    We need to progress from socialism, which requires a master/serf type hierarchy, to freedom/capitalism in which every man/woman is free and responsible for himself. The Europeans wouldn't be on the verge of a massive collapse if they only adopt capitalism.

    December 9, 2011 at 5:57 pm |
  138. Rui Soares

    The UK can join the USA and become their 53 rd State... they already a very obedient puppy... Let's be honest. Do they want to be in or out? It's their choice... But they have to decide. If they don't, they will be kicked out...

    December 9, 2011 at 6:00 pm |
  139. Bwana

    With prices in the UK what they are I'm surprised anyone can survive there!!

    December 9, 2011 at 6:05 pm |
  140. Sam Rupani

    Good Afternoon.

    U.K. has strong currency Pound, therefore, it doesn't care about Euro. But U.K. will be back by March 2012 and everything will become better. Today, countries need something against Dollar... They cannot go back to old currencies of lower prestige and value... But U.K has Pound.... it doesn't care.

    Thanks

    Regards

    Sam Rupani

    Houston, Texas, USA

    December 9, 2011 at 6:07 pm |
  141. xrscorp

    I always found it humourous that the countries with the greatest sovereign debt issues are also vacation desitinations. Now Britian won't help pony up for the 40 year vacation that Greece, Spain and portugal took. I'm shocked, really I am.

    December 9, 2011 at 6:08 pm |
  142. chris

    The English did not only give us their language but nearly everything else. They were way ahead of the curve in technology, cultural achievement, politics, law, invention, science, engineering–you name it. Think about it for a minute, especially you folks who hate the truth and look away from it at every turn, where would you be without the British Empire? You'd basically cease to exist as you are. Read your history and you'll see that everything you take for granted is English. English Common Law alone gives you the freedom to live your choices without being tormented by the state. God bless and keep the British.

    December 9, 2011 at 6:16 pm |
  143. A.L.

    @chris
    What you wrote is nonsense. You don't have to support a country for what it did in the past, without a clear view of the future. Following your thought, we should then admire the Italians for what the Roman culture gave us. Or the Greeks for, among others, the "invention" of democracy. But we see today that they might not be very good examples.

    December 9, 2011 at 6:23 pm |
  144. euro realist

    cameron made the only choice he could, now we'll just have to see how it plays out. at the end of the day this is a eurozone crisis that the eurozone countrys need to get sorted, they need to cooperate with each other and stop using other countries like the UK and hungary as a reason they have failed to sort it out by now! the uk is a very reluctant member of the e.u, and also one of the largest contributors, maybe its time to let them decide on their own fate, good or bad, and have a referendum. at least then they can decide their own fate....is that not what democracy is all about?

    December 9, 2011 at 6:25 pm |
  145. SR

    Other words, UK does not like to see banks paying Tax to EU.. in return, banks, onshore and offshore, promise to pay some fees to Britain.

    December 9, 2011 at 6:36 pm |
  146. Elliott

    we never needed euro groups and we will be well shot of them- let them get on with it and let Britain return to Great Britain. How foolish promoter of EC Edward Heath was- I was at his speech in Windsor about 25 years ago. When was Germany and France ever a friend of UK- never. We dont need referendums- self rule and a strong military are the main needs for this country that I was once proud of.

    December 9, 2011 at 6:38 pm |
  147. Ross

    The United Kingdom is right to simply go along with the selfish national interests of Germany and their poodle France.

    December 9, 2011 at 6:38 pm |
  148. Steve

    Frankly the UK has more in common with the US and Canada than Europe – I don't see why they just don't join NAFTA or a new north Atlantic economic union.

    December 9, 2011 at 6:49 pm |
  149. Stan

    How many countries of the Euro-zone, if they could go back in time would never have agreed to adapt the euro, like the U.K. did? I would have to say practically all of them. The U.K. and other countries who didn't adapt the euro are in a fairly safe position right now. This emergency meeting was not about the pound but rather about the euro crashing and burning and the euro-countries along with it. There has always been global trade, but globalization, with its demand that bigger-is-better and let's integrate everything for more centralization, has led to banks that are too big to fail, and now to a currency that is too big to fail. We need de-coupling and de-centralization, so that if one part of an economic system fails it doesn't bring down the rest of it with it.

    December 9, 2011 at 6:59 pm |
  150. Richard Hode

    I agree completely with the British. Most Europeans would gladly ditch the EU, the new realm ruled by the elites and the bankers that have caused Europe to be flooded with Muslims. The goal of the unelected Brussels elites in the EU project is to destroy the national cultures and replace them by a plug-in, plug-out proletariat that can supply cheap labor to whatever the capitalists come up with.

    I would love to see the EU collapse entirely and the nation states go back to their own borders and national laws. That would be a defeat for the cultural marxists and other transnationalist one-worlders who live to see the European civilization destroyed as they throw open the borders to mass migration from Africa and the Muslim lands, leading to ghettoification and no-go zones for the native populations. No single European government has permitted a referendum on EU membership because they are fully aware that the people would reject EU membership if given a chance. The EU only benefits the elites, the capitalists, and the bankers, and the British are wise to resist it, as the were wise to reject the Euro.

    December 9, 2011 at 7:00 pm |
  151. James

    The Uk needs Europe – does Europe need the UK?

    December 9, 2011 at 7:01 pm |
  152. Matt

    What Americans never understand is that European nation states are different than the states of the USA. The people of the European states are very different with different cultures, languages and history. The whole point of the EU is to try and create a European utopia by merging Europe together. The EU is hostile to democracy because the views of the average European are not always in line with the political elites and their utopian vision.

    The people of the UK are separated from the rest of the continent by the sea and because of that, unlike many other European nations, they have had defined borders and independence for hundreds of years so the public are even less likely to see themselves as first and foremost Europeans than other citizens of european countries.

    The weird thing is the US encourages the independence of various peoples around the world but at the same time encourages the undemocratic merger of the european peoples.

    The UK should leave the EU and let the rest of them get on with merging if that's what they want instead of always being dragged unwillingly along.

    December 9, 2011 at 7:08 pm |
  153. alerta

    In two years, when the crisies is over, the euro becomes again a stabile currency the english people will notice their mistake and suddenly their realise leaving the EU in Jan. '12 wasnt the beste idea.

    December 9, 2011 at 7:10 pm |
  154. Roy

    Please, let the uk get out of the eu, they should be kicked out and get the same deals as norway, it will cost them a lot.......... The eu does not need great britain(or should we say little britain) , i think little britain needs the union....
    Dissapointet in the uk, i really think they shot themselves in the their own foot her.......

    December 9, 2011 at 7:18 pm |
  155. Ken

    The UK sees this as a brilliant financial strategy. When France and Germany force a financial transactions tax down the throats of all the other countires in order to keep paying for failing social programs, the companies will simply say "Hmmm .. we can keep doing our business inside the Euro and have to pay for the privalege, or, we can shift our business to the UK and avoid he tax". Profit margins in finance are a lot smaller since the meltdown years ago. So saving on any tax / fees will be a big incentive for companies to move their transactions and business to the UK and our of he Euro's reach. UK, the new Switzerland of Europe (for Finances).

    December 9, 2011 at 7:28 pm |
  156. Germany

    Finally !!!! maybe we will see a grey hair appear on David Camerons head now !

    December 9, 2011 at 7:34 pm |
  157. Michael

    What would you expect the US to do if the UN decided to make a huge tax on, let's say internet and telephone use. Huge like $100 a call and $50 per MB. You would expect the US to not agree to it as they would be paying most of the tax. Now look back at the situation the UK is in and think about it!

    December 9, 2011 at 7:38 pm |
  158. April

    Sounds to me like the UK is the wisest country in Europe! If Germany had any sense, they'd do the same!

    December 9, 2011 at 7:39 pm |
  159. Brussels Chap

    @ Diesel Eyes: Lol, America has a system that works? You guys have the biggest public and gouvernemental debt in the entire universe! OMG think before you speak.

    All in all the UK will suffer,tthey are suffering already, buying power as dropped dramastically in the last 10 years in the UK alone. So watch out Islanders... You ld better do a new referendum before we charge an inmense fee to get in th EU lol.

    December 9, 2011 at 7:42 pm |
  160. TobyD

    A great day for the UK. I remember how much were told when the UK said "no" to the Euro that we were doomed, now the Euro is in trouble we are being told that saying "no" to it again will doom us.

    Yeah sure. The UK is great partner for europe both financially and in insuring legal protections for citizens.

    Was the UK looking after its own interests today? Yes for sure. We can take being lectured to from germany who always give to help the EU, fair enough. But we are damned if we are going to be lectured to by France who ALWAYS put their self interest ahead of the greater community.

    December 9, 2011 at 7:44 pm |
  161. xrscorp

    All Hail Frau Angela and New Germania. "For those about to pay, we salute you!" Sounds kind of snappy don't you think sheeple.

    December 9, 2011 at 7:46 pm |
  162. Stan

    Conservatives, like Cameron, are by nature a bit self-centered and stubborn. Now is not the time to be stubborn or self-centered, my British friends. I don't think if in the future with a more liberal leaning leader that wants inclusion with the rest of Europe, that the EU is going to accept an apology. You make your bed and that's where you will sleep. Here in N. America, we had NAFTA many years ago to help balance trade and commerce on this side of the pond. Maybe that will have to be in Britain's future as well.

    December 9, 2011 at 7:49 pm |
  163. HMG

    the EU is a NWO puppet
    why should British Banks be taxed to fund German-French Projects ???
    Why should EU regulate things like what is chocolate and if prisoners can vote

    So what if the UK has a population of 60 million ?
    Should small countries just give up their right to self rule ?

    Should Mexico and Canada just became states in the USA ?

    December 9, 2011 at 7:49 pm |
  164. Mortalc01l

    OrangeJuice:

    Well written and well argued; I completely agree with you.

    December 9, 2011 at 8:04 pm |
  165. Martin

    Britain would be way smarter to exit the EU and form a Commonwealth trading block. The population sizes, natural resources and spending power of Commonwealth countries is MASSIVE in comparison to the EU.

    December 9, 2011 at 8:07 pm |
  166. Tea-Yo

    Dutch résumé of the Euro Crisis. Look here:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dgjZ388abVg

    December 9, 2011 at 8:12 pm |
  167. Thatcherchild

    We took it on the chin back in 1992 when we refused to join the European Exchange Rate Mechanism (use the Euro instead of the Pound) and while it became an opportunity for George Soros to make a few bucks at the time, the Pound has held its value against all currencies, including the Dollar and the Euro. Many investment banks moved their headquarters from France, Germany etc. to London after this and London is the hub of European investment banking and finance whether the Germans like this or not. I can completely understand why Cameron would resist a scenario where the Euronerds in Brussels have come up with a scheme to tax a successful industry in order to support the pension schemes of overpaid Greeks and lazy Spaniards. The UK refusing to get on board with all aspects of the Euro is not something new and my sense is that in 5-10 years nothing will have fundamentally changed (other than more investment banks and the companies they support migrating to London to avoid the ridiculous transaction taxes)

    December 9, 2011 at 8:18 pm |
  168. Wylie-Mike

    Do the citizens of the EU have any say on who among the elites decides for them what the currency and commerce will be?
    Why would they agree to an elite from one country to have say over issues of their national sovereignty?
    Seems too much like a power grab.
    The UK has it right in not surrendering its sovereignty to foreign manipulators.

    December 9, 2011 at 8:20 pm |
  169. streaky

    "Somewhat akin to arriving at your neighbours burning house where they ask for help and you say... only if you let me borrow your lawnmower next Summer..."

    You metaphore is totally wrong. It's more like your neighbour's house is burning because they set it on fire on purpose – you want to help and they ask you to pay for the rebuild.. Then they set fire to your house and the rest of the street and want to make you pay for that too. Then when you say no they call you and 'obstical' and tell you to GTFO. How about taking money from the CAP to pay for it?

    December 9, 2011 at 8:28 pm |
  170. EU citizen

    It's OK for UK to opt out – it doesnt involve them directly anyway, however...
    - Asking for budgetary discipline is not a bad thing, is it? as a UK citizen, wouldn't you prefer to have someone else looking at the budget of the UK as well?
    - Has the UK made so much better government decisions over the last 30 years than let's say average EU governments have? It's not like daily life in the UK seems to be all that better? violence, expensive schools, overpaid bankers, immigrant riots, mortgages an average famlily can't afford, a contineously decling pound sterling exchange rate, etc etc
    - All that talk about protecting UK/london interests? hello? UK had to nationalize a great number of its banks, implying all these "UK policies" didn't appear to be that good after all, moreover, UK taxpayers didn't even get a chance to say what their taxmoney would be spent on... oh yes banker's bonusses. You honestly believe Cameron defended the interests of 60 mln UK citizens?

    December 9, 2011 at 8:39 pm |
  171. to__nic

    October 1938. Neville Chamberlain, PM of UK, signs treaty with Adolf Hitler. He say "I believe it is peace for our time!". By many he is considered a hero back home. Winston Churchil, future PM of UK, reply: "You were given the choice between war and dishonour. You chose dishonour, and you will have war."

    People of the World! I beg You! Stop repeating the same mistakes over and over again!

    December 9, 2011 at 8:43 pm |
  172. richard

    I have neither read nor heard via any new media any sane reason for Britain to agree to further EU convenants/restraints which are now necessary due to a massively weakened euro when Britain backed out of adopting the euro years ago. Why would Britain now co-sign a bad debt agreement when your currency is not part of the issue? If I were a Brit I would have Cameron's guts for garters for signing now!

    December 9, 2011 at 8:54 pm |
  173. xrscorp

    @to-nic....Most people are moving too quickly and are under to much stress to notice or comprehend the massive forces that are changing continental Europe. They also don't know who to trust. And like the late 30's and early 40's the wheel is turning so slowly that it is almost impossible to percieve change. Unfortunately for many it will be too late. The new world order ya right! Soldier on Great Britian you have allies. Never did like german cars and the French have armed the third world.

    December 9, 2011 at 9:21 pm |
  174. Big Englander

    Some good comments on here but also some uninformed ones.

    The UK is the 6th largest economy in the world only slightly behind France in 5th and could easily leapfrog (no pun intended) France into 5th depending on currency movements – with a relative strengthening of the GBP to the EUR more rather than less likely.

    As for population we are 62M projected to be 70M Germany meanwhile is projected to decline from 80M+ to 70M+.

    Be in no doubt the French and Germans would have loved Britain to be in the Euro our $2Trn + GDP added to the rest would have made the block so much more powerful , which is after ll what they crave. Nor is the Franco-German axis guaranteed , they have a history of falling out you know.

    DC whilst not the gretest PM hs done the right thing and now need to follow it up – why not a tie up with NAFTA and other like minded nations.

    Who would want to be Spain or Italy now – totally at the whim of Merkozy. Assuming Srako hangs on to power...

    December 9, 2011 at 9:31 pm |
  175. English Yeoman

    Whats wrong with my comments? Post them sensor Gestapo, theres far worse on here!

    December 9, 2011 at 9:38 pm |
  176. Cassandra Chu

    Everybody should get a Greek maid/cook as payment.

    December 9, 2011 at 9:41 pm |
  177. Cassandra Chu

    ... and a Spanish-Italian lover...

    December 9, 2011 at 9:41 pm |
  178. Jim H.

    "And we make money easier with some 300 million ppl other than less than 60"
    EU population excluding UK is about 440 million, that's more than the USA's 312 million.

    December 9, 2011 at 9:46 pm |
  179. britishno

    Mr. Cameron, go back on your island and please never come back to Europe !

    December 9, 2011 at 9:48 pm |
  180. Karl M

    Let not get to carried away with the EU, Ok we have France and Germany, but the remaining Euro members are weak, there is spain running with 20% unemployment, Ireland already receive bail outs directly from the UK, Greece (Enoght said), Italy on the brink. Then there is the eastern former warsaw pact countries!!

    It would of been political suicide for Cameroon to sign up to this treaty, he would of faces a major revolt in the house of commons on his return to London and a very strong reaction from the voters in the UK, he had no choice but to reject the treaty.

    Lets also remember that the UK is a major finance backer of the EU, we pay over $80 Billion into the EU over the next 4 years which makes us the 3rd biggest backer in the EU so we have every right to voice our objections over the smaller nations.

    December 9, 2011 at 10:04 pm |
  181. ukaway

    There are some misinformed comments on here, I'm guessing because not all Americans or, for that matter, Europeans fully understand the British perspective.

    First, modern Brits have no delusions of power; we do not have some misguided idea that we still run the Empire or that we're this huge country. But Norway and Switzerland are much smaller than us and seem to be coping quite well outside the EU.

    Perhaps Americans can best understand if they remember their own antipathy to Big Government. Notice how all wannabe elected politicians in the States have to pay lip-service to the idea that they're from outside the Beltway, that they're going to represent the little guy against the power in DC. Well, Brussels and the EU are 10 times worse than Washington and there is no way Americans would tolerate the level of unaccountable, dictatorial behaviour which we have to put up with from Europe. Europeans (at least some) cherish a Stateist, Big Government version of society which is anathema to Yanks and Brits alike. And we've never been asked whether it's what we want or whether we want to go along with this.

    Now do you understand?

    December 9, 2011 at 10:05 pm |
  182. Desert Pete

    A person sells their soul to the devil for monetary gain – a country gives up part of it's sovereignty? And you wonder why the British will not take part?

    December 9, 2011 at 10:07 pm |
  183. Anthoni

    "showed him to the door and decided to settle for closer budget discipline among eurozone countries"?? Is this journalism? Denmark is not in the Eurozone, they're signing it. "with the 17 euro-using members on one side and most of the remaining 10 non-eurozone states on the other." REALLY? Have you read the news lately? What rubbish journalism is this, how can you report lies? The most amazing thing isn't the poor quality of your work, but that people would buy this!

    December 9, 2011 at 10:14 pm |
  184. Nick

    Actually Britain is not isolated, we have a thing called the Commonwealth!

    December 9, 2011 at 10:25 pm |
  185. guy

    So – Mr Cameron was not bought by the EU, unlike Leon Brition & Neil Kinnock. I wonder if Tarzan (Hestletine) & Clarke will be selling Euros now?

    December 9, 2011 at 10:28 pm |
  186. economist

    I read most of the comment here and most is not correct.

    The EU has not 300 but 500 million people in total.

    In fact the british economy right now is in a very weak position (some experts say near insolvency) and would ballasting the eurozone if they would adopt the euro now.

    On this summit, it was not about joining the eurozone, but about changing the EU treaties, which every country must conclude. Now because of Britains veto, the 26 EU countries without Britain can not change EU law, but can and will conclude 26 single pacts, so Britain significantly slow european progess down and will pay the price by losing hudge influence in the EU and so with it in the world.

    Also I dont understand why many american and british commentators here celebrate the brisith veto, in fact isolating Britain in the world doesnt mean producing more welth (quite likely the opposite will be the result) but protecting the british financial sector, this financial sector which turned the world 2007 in the biggest economical crisis in history.

    Also this transactions tax, core EU is planning to install, is not going into the EU, but to local governments, for let the financial sector pay back the tax money they received in the big crash for their rescue from the people..

    December 9, 2011 at 10:36 pm |
  187. Carlton Sofitel

    It's not "UK says no to treaty", it's "EU says no to UK conditions"

    December 9, 2011 at 10:40 pm |
  188. economist

    Also Britain is not to compare with Norway or Switzerland.
    Norway has a population of 4,9 million people and is rich because of their oil and gas exports.
    Switzerland with 7,8 million people for long time made their money with invite the world to transfer their illegal money on swiss bank accounts, to hide it for them before their governments..

    December 9, 2011 at 10:44 pm |
  189. Karl M

    economist, its quite simple we don't want our budgets, policies etc being decided by other nations within the EU.

    The fact is the French & Germans where hell bend in making the UK comply with what they wanted, they did'nt even put the issue to the other EU members which makes the French and Germans bullies within the EU trying to get the whole of Europe to comply with there wishes, just look at this link for the sour grapes coming out of the EU because we used our right of Veto, Europe is not as democratic as people may thing!!

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-16114902

    December 9, 2011 at 10:46 pm |
  190. economist

    @Carlton Sofitel
    Those UK conditions have been unacceptable for 26 EU countries and most countries even tried to come towards Cameron, who in a very haughty manner didnt move a millimeter and wished all "good luck" by leaving..

    December 9, 2011 at 10:47 pm |
  191. Tim Casey

    @Roy, Please do not worry yourself about GREAT Britain, you seem very bitter.David Cameron did an excellent job for the Country. Whilst the french and the German's would like to dominate Europe, the Brits will never allow this. The meeting was supposed to be, how to save the Euro, suddenly its about new treaties, no action on the Euro. Whilst France and Germany play petty politics, the Euro will eventually fail !!

    December 9, 2011 at 10:48 pm |
  192. economist

    @Karl M
    To think now your government will stay free and independent of making policies is a myth, in fact globalization and the international financial centres as well as the big power blocs like the EU, USA and CHINA will go on govern your country, just with the difference that those powerhouses on this planet will pay still much attention to your voice..

    December 9, 2011 at 10:53 pm |
  193. economist

    ..powerhouses on this planet wont pay still much attention to your voice..

    December 9, 2011 at 10:54 pm |
  194. PhD

    First of all, why didn't you post my earler comments ? I thougth they were quite measured and expressed in words a lot more decent than some I have read.
    Economist, yours are the ONLY factual and meaningful commnets so far. I wpuld ask the res tof the posters to read your copmments and try to digest them before further comments.

    UK is free to leave the EU. Nobody forces it. I hope the British politicians will gather enough courage to call a referendum and let the Brits decide what they want instead of verbal bashiung of Europe and of the euro ! Please behave like mature adults.

    December 9, 2011 at 10:57 pm |
  195. Alan

    It is rather bizarre to see so many US correspondents supporting the formation of a federation of states which is essentially an analogy to the Soviet Union.

    December 9, 2011 at 11:35 pm |
  196. PhD

    CNN, what happened to freedom of speech and the Fifth Amendment ? Why aren't you posting my comments ? Simply because you don't like them ? Great !

    December 9, 2011 at 11:43 pm |
  197. Mark L

    The EU comes from a Coal & Steel Community after the WWII, and through better trade links was to bring stability to Europe.

    That's fine, i'm all for trade agreements and working together on an open market, however, I am not in favour of losing any more sovereignty or finance to Europe.

    As a major contributor to the EU, we have a right to voice our opinion and to enforce our stance with a VETO, hasn't France previously used the veto to impose it's will. Yes!

    Oh and the banking sector and financial houses do need to be looked at, though, i'd rather trust the British government to impose any regulations with the aid of the FOS making sure these are sufficiently implemented. If Europeans are so untrusting of their own governments, as some Europeans have mentioned, maybe further unification for them would be a wise move.

    @Economist, it was about amending a current Treaty, as it would take to long to draw up a new one. Nonetheless, the UK found the treaty unacceptable and vetoed.

    @Cartlton Sofitel, what utter drivel are you talking about, does it really matter whether, "it's not "UK says no to treaty", it's "EU says no to UK conditions"". Surely this is by-the-by.
    The UK wanted certain safeguards, conditions as you put it, EU said NO and the UK vetoed the proposed amendments to the Treaties. See it and phrase it how you desire my European friend, though, the amendments to the treaty itself will not thankfully go ahead.

    However, with the exception of the Hungarians, with the Swedes and Czechs to consult their parliaments. However, most of Europe is nevertheless in favour of a new pact and fair play to them.

    There is undoubtedly a two speed Europe, those in favour of greater integration (led by Germany with it's sidekick France, Italy and Spain in dire need of help and the smaller countries who will do whatever the EU leaders say for funding). I am surprise they just don't form one large country called the United States of Europe, wait that's what they're trying to do 'discreetly'. Then those on the peripherals; Swiss, UK and some of the other countries.

    Will this cause isolation from Europe, politically from Europe probably, financially possibly, will it effect the UK certainly, how much is hard to say. However, the lack of willingness for greater integration doesn't mean the UK will suffer globally.

    Do the French feel they ought to benefit from CAP when there are other countries within the EU that could do with that financial resource, we never discuss this issue, I wonder why?

    It's a shame the all European leaders, including David Cameron didn't discuss debt and low growth which personally I feel is just as pressing to address, as this failed Euro currency.

    December 9, 2011 at 11:43 pm |
  198. James

    Cameron is being demonized by the European leadership & Euro Media, when intact he has done the right thing for Britain. the UK is one of the only European nations with actual growth, and why should the UK suffer for the failure that is the European Union.

    December 10, 2011 at 12:32 am |
  199. James

    It's astonishing (and not a little bit depressing) to read so much hysterical xenophobia against Britain in the comments on this page. Cameron's refusal to sign up to this treaty was purely economic – it had nothing whatsoever to do with 'empire' or arrogance or colonialism or whatever. The deal on the table would have forced Britain to pay the bulk of the cost of saving a currency that it doesn't even use – no rational nation on earth would have signed up to that.

    As some other posters have pointed out, nobody in Britain is remotely interested in being an empire or dominating Europe (although judging from some of the comments above, it seems that plenty of non-Brits are obsessed with this idea). No, we simply want to govern our own country and trade freely with other countries. Culturally, continental Europe is a very different place to Britain and any attempt to promote greater fiscal and political union in Europe was always likely to result in Britain leaving. Good luck to the rest of Europe – I genuinely hope it goes well for you and that we have an economically strong neighbour to trade with. But please don't hate us simply because we chose something different.

    December 10, 2011 at 12:42 am |
  200. paul

    Please do feel free to kick us out...we never wanted in, in the first place!

    It was Blair and Brown who sold this country out...

    We can stop paying billions into the EUSSR and spend it where it's really needed instead of helping to prop up the dying Euro and the countries it's bankrupting!!!!

    I bet the Greeks are really pleased they joined...NOT!

    And the British empire died out years ago...we know that so why do you keep banging on about it???

    December 10, 2011 at 1:43 am |
  201. gliese42

    Britain's future is with Ireland and the Anglo Saxon's country they created who are doing better than them. I believe they should joint venture with Australia and New Zealand. Maybe America's should also align with them and it may help our economy

    December 10, 2011 at 2:47 am |
  202. UK2011

    I don't see why the UK is being heckled in the media. Cameron made a sound decision based on the facts. Why would the UK want to sign up to give greater powers to a non-democracy, which can't even sign off on its budget and is known for its corruption. More needs to become of the EU before the UK considers joining it – accountable, elected officials in all posts and democracy to start off with. There is plenty of hardship for the EU along the way and this problem is not nearly sorted. Remember Europe has never agreed on anything and never will do = death of the euro is to come.
    Plus the UK fought for its freedom from those who seem to disregard democracy and why should we give it back. I'm sure Americans would appreciate this as the champions of democracy or do we not have enough oil for you.

    December 10, 2011 at 3:01 am |
  203. Robert

    gliese42 who exactly are the Anglo Saxons who you want to ally with? Ireland does not want you (besides it is Celtic). Australia and New Zealand do not want you (they are doing much better than the UK and have their own alliances with the US and economic ones closer to home in Asia). I do not think Canada wants you. Other Commonwealth countries, former colonies and occupied lands, definitely do not want you LOL. This probably leaves the US who MAY accept you as an additional state of the USA... but WILL NOT do so to your economic/trading advantage but will do so to their own advantage. So, let's be frank, you are on your own and while you may still do well for a while, longer term you have a problem.

    December 10, 2011 at 3:16 am |
  204. Michael

    England should stay out of the Euro. There is no way the English should or could give up sovereignty to Brussels. Joking the US as the 51st State would be preferable.

    December 10, 2011 at 3:43 am |
  205. Danny

    I concur with david cameron's decision. united states of europe is not unlike USSR. it is a gathering of weak states controlled by the strong and wealthy like germans where the soverignty of these states will be surrendered over to germany inreturn for alms for states like greece, italy , spain which lack perseverence, discipline and back bone. franco german just want status quo to maintain both political and economic grip at home and abroad.

    December 10, 2011 at 6:30 am |
  206. robert_s

    It's sad to see that even at a time of crisis the Brits refuse to put their brilliant heads together with those from the rest of Europe to find solutions, but instead remain stuck in nationalistic thinking.

    And it is foolish, too – The thought that if the continental European economies crumble, the UK could just "step back" and get away unscathed is purely absurd. They'll be hit just as hard. Only by nay'ing everything, they've spoiled their chance of participating in solving this matter, even if it would have only been in a "symbolic" way.

    The UK can only lose: If the EU fails, they'll fail with it. If the EU recovers, there'll be 26 member states rememering the unhelpfulness of the 27th member state at a time of crisis. And that will come back to haunt them.

    December 10, 2011 at 9:21 am |
  207. Dave

    The EU is actually the biggest economy of the world, before the USA!
    If Britain thinks they go better alone, they should leave and stop slow it, for the EU it will be a win..

    December 10, 2011 at 11:56 am |
  208. Gareth

    Dave – with respect, the EU economy cannot be compared to the US economy. The EU does not have an integrated economy, supervised by a single political leadership and united by a common tax and regulatory system. Many EU leaders obviously want it to be all of those things, but they are not there yet.

    You may be right that the EU would be better off without the UK, but then again you may not be. After all, the eurozone has not been a resounding success and despite what Sarkozy claims, it is not all the fault of "perfidious Albion" and the London Stock Exchange. All western financial markets, most Western governments and most banks must take a share of the blame for the current crisis. It suits Sarkozy, like all politicians, to blame other people, but avoid being taken in by that. Euroscepticism is not confined to the UK – according to opinion polls published today by CNN, two thirds of Germans and French people are opposed to moves to greater EU federalism, which is unfortunately exactly what they were presented with yesterday (obviously they were not asked) – I doubt whether the strength of opinion is greater in the UK.

    Just for the record, I think that both Britain and the EU would lose out if the UK left the EU. Like it or not, we make a significant financial contribution to EU finances and removing one of the world's largest economies from your balance sheet is not something that anyone should welcome. It may come to that, but hopefully not – for everyone's sake. It would help if people stopped playing the blame game – the UK has as much right to act in its own national interests over the Stock Exchange as France has with regard to the Common Agricultural Policy, which is a sacred cow if ever there was one.

    December 10, 2011 at 1:22 pm |
  209. Adolf

    Europe would've been united in 1940 if not for Britain. What is their problem?

    December 10, 2011 at 1:47 pm |
  210. Fred Schwarz

    The exact opposite: "Short-term pain or long-term gain?"

    The Euro is doomed. I just returned from Germany and Italy and THE CITIZENS (you know, the people that actually live in these nations and elect the politicians) mostly want no part of this fiscal union. The best thing the representatives of the people could do is recognize the reality and orderly disband the Euro. But no, they'll drag it on until some reactionary stands up and and tells the EU they're to go to hell and all debts are null-and-void.

    And by the way, the UK is acting in their best interest which is what they are elected to do.

    December 10, 2011 at 1:56 pm |
  211. Matt

    Andrew: "I'm American (and proud to be!) but if my country should have to choose between the UK and the EU, I had no doubt: EU forever. At the end, we wanna make money."

    I think this sums it up quite well. Some in the UK think that they can turn their back on the EU, since they can just move their focus to the US. Problem is, Americans don't like losers. Americans always put their business interests first. The "Special Relationship" is all fine and well but when it comes to business partnerships, one selects the strongest partners one can have. It may sound opportunistic but the American Dream was always about grabbing at opportunities, wasn'it it?

    December 10, 2011 at 4:13 pm |
  212. just my opinion

    Besides all the efforts against it, the euro is here to stay and the UK should be left out of the EU instead of continuing to undermining the EU efforts in favor of they own interests. The city of London financial was one of the major players in the 2008 world crisis and they want to defend it!? If the UK wants to leave the EU and be on they own do it already.

    December 10, 2011 at 6:03 pm |
  213. Danny

    It is very convenient for german/franco to pass the risks n buck to IMF and still able to rule over other debtors states like greece, italy n spain who have to surrender their sovereignty. US will also foot money to bail out EU and the banks at great risks. Why bail out EU and not americans?

    December 11, 2011 at 4:05 am |
  214. paul

    They call us America's lapdog....what a hoot!

    The Germans shout ACHTUNG!! and the Frogs and the rest of European union snap to attention...Enjoy the United States of Germany people...

    I hope it's better than the first time they told you what to do....

    December 11, 2011 at 4:28 am |
  215. Paul

    You guys are American idiots at its best, i am British and for one you have no idea of the real situation... Seeing as the Germans and French wanted to make a financial tax which in turn would have crippled London ( Capital of finance of the world i might add) by 10-20%. This was not in our interest as well as 85% of the British people want a referendum as we always seem to be giving and not relieving. If you are actually educated, we are not looking to be a "super power" like you yanks, but to increase our trade to other countries. I would strongly suggest you know the facts before you criticize my pm and my country.

    December 11, 2011 at 7:10 am |
  216. Mick S

    As a English Brit I can tell you what’s the EU done for me its given me train journeys full of strange languages, it’s given me foreign workers serving me breakfast, lunch and dinner and down the pubs serving me drinks, it’s taken all the construction & low paid jobs work and given it to eastern Europeans.
    It’s also given me a lost generation of young people without a job or hope of finding one about a million at last count.
    We don’t need to be in the Europe its feels that Europe has already taken over my country,

    December 11, 2011 at 4:54 pm |
  217. Mick R

    As Paul above has said, we're not interested in being a super-power. All this crap about Empire seems to come from those stuck in the past (which strangley, they acuse us of). The sooner we stop getting involved in what the rest of the world is up to the better. I'm sure France and Germany will stand shoulder to shoulder with the US on their next global policing mission.

    December 11, 2011 at 5:44 pm |
  218. Alan D

    The UK PM was at that EU meeting doing what he thought was best for his Country and its population. The UK is the financial- services powerhouse of Europe, and dependent on that. Germany is the manufacturing powerhouse of Europe. If the proposed tax was on produced goods I don’t think Germany would have voted for it. Do you? I feel the outcome of this meeting was structured to exclude the UK from the start. As there was no way that Mr Cameron could accept a proposal that would have such devastating consequences for his country. I have always been an advocate for the EU. However, this latest development has changed my mind. This is a European power struggle as well as a financial one, and forced segregation is not the answer. What goes around comes around and the Franco –German stance against the UK may have rung the death bell for the EU.

    December 11, 2011 at 10:55 pm |
  219. Manfred

    From Mr. Paul.
    If you are actually educated, we are not looking to be a "super power" like you yanks, but to increase our trade to other countries. I would strongly suggest you know the facts before you criticize my pm and my country.° that was good.
    Germans are working very hard to keep the EU united.and that is why they have been able to increase thier trade to other EU countries. For your information. This was the last chance for UK to take it's rightfull place in the EU but they let it go. it will not be long before you findout UK has no say in the EU any more. So Mr. Paul. you don't want to be part of the EU but you want to increase your trade. hopefully not with the EU contries

    December 12, 2011 at 2:06 am |
  220. Hardfacts

    I think that Germany and France think the European Union is their own little private club, and would be better served by getting the other members involved.
    A plan to sanction nations that break the rules of the new treaty is a really stupid move. Why would other countries sign up to have punishment bestowed upon themselves when they get into financial trouble. Seems kinda like telling someone that he must pay money as a fine when he doesn't have the money anyway.
    Unless the EU is willing to allow full financial control by the ECB, which would mean leaving all the countries involved without no control over spending and debt the issues, the Euro crisis will never be resolved.

    December 12, 2011 at 9:39 am |
  221. suchan104

    Manfred, the problem with the EU is that different countries have different visions of what the EU should be. Countries such as the UK, Sweden and Denmark see the most important part of the EU as being the Single Market; a large market in which we can all compete together on a level playing field without restrictions. Other countries, such as France and Germany, see the EU as an opportunity for full fiscal, monetary and political union in a kind of United States of Europe. I think these two visions can be compatible so long neither visions tries to impose itself on the other. I find it absurd that the EU always feels it has to move together towards a common goal. Let those nations that don't want the Euro or political union to participate fully in the Single Market and let those countries that want closer union form that as an extra step within the EU.

    December 13, 2011 at 9:04 am |
  222. David

    What else is new? MONEY!!! The bottom-line of all these agreements and disagreements is making more MONEY!!! So if you think any of those politicians care about you, you have grossly misjudged their statements or actions!!! THEY DONT!!! Because they can make our world a better place without argument or disagreement if they choose to!!!

    December 13, 2011 at 9:44 am |
  223. Here's the Truth (from one who actually lives in Britain)1!

    Orange Juice, Sam and A Brit seem to be part of a few on this site who know what they're talking about. Some of the other stuff is utter bulls*it (you can always spot the ones, they go on about the British Empire, bowler hats, umbrellas, old chap, etc, because they know nothing), and I had to stop reading it! Let's get something straight – in the first place, the British people were never asked if we wanted to be ruled by a small group of anonymous dictators based in Brussels, who consistently send out their directives to us every bl**dy day! Why do you think that we've never been offered a referendum asking us what we want? Because the answer is known already – we'd have said, "No." (I'm sure that, had we been given the vote and we'd said, "no", we'd have been made to vote again until we gave the "correct" answer – as happened with our Irish neighbours. So, instead, successive British governments have quietly and consistently signed away our sovereignty to the EU over the last thirty-plus years. We give over £40 million per day to the EU and where does it go? We don't know and neither do the auditors for the EU's accounts, which is why they've always refused to sign the accounts. All we do know for sure is that corruption is alive and well on the lucrative EU gravy train running through Brussels. Our Government tells us that times are hard and we have to do without, but we're still expected to throw money into the EU money-pit to pay for corrupt officials, and hand more over to countries who've squandered their money away. Just look what happened when one country exercises its right to veto a proposal, as David Cameron did. In return, the EU has suddenly turned into a big bully, plotting revenge and headed by France and Germany, with all the little hangers on (Lithuania, Portugal, Belgium, etc) lining up behind them. Believe me, the EU is NOT a democracy. It just replaced the Soviet Union as soon as the Berlin wall came down. Sarkozy and Merkel look out for themselves first and foremost and everyone else is expected to follow them. All we want is to be free from the grip of the EUSSR!

    December 14, 2011 at 6:19 am |
  224. Mark

    BRITAIN DOES NOT NEED THE EU, BEEN IN THE UK GIVES EASTERN EUROPEONS RIGHTS TO STEAL BRITISH JOBS, BEEN IN THE EU RESTRICTS BUSINESS'S IN THE UK. THE EU DICTATES BRITAIN REDUCE FISHING IN THE NORTH SEA BY 40%, ITS OUR SEA, IT SURROUNDS OUR COUNTRY AND FEEDS OUR COUNTRY

    BRITAIN HAS ITS OWN CURRENCY, THE EURO IS EUROPES MESS NOT OURS, WHY SHOULD BRITAIN PAY TO BAIL OUT GREECE AND ITALY, THEY SHOUDL PAY THERE OWN DEBTS, DAVID CAMERON MADE THE RIGHT DECISION, JUST NEED TO GET OUT OFF EU!!!!!!!

    December 16, 2011 at 2:45 am |
  225. Vyv

    "Give us your sovereignty and democracy and we'll give you wealth and global power!" Yeah, when has that line ever worked out? All of the arguments seem to be based on that idea. Leaving the EU might be dodging a bullet for them, maybe it'll be shooting themselves. But when did power and wealth become more important than self-determination? I'm very surprised to see so much resentment towards the UK for wanting to protect their liberty. Besides I highly doubt the power and wealth you'd gain from such an agreement would stay yours for very long.

    Also, I'm not sure when the U.S. took a poll saying we want the EU to force the UK in. A lot of people seem to be referencing this imaginary opinion. Perhaps, everyone's inferring this from the comments. I don't know if I need to let you know that counting random people on the internet isn't the most reliable way to judge the opinion of an entire country. It would be more accurate to say the majority isn't really paying attention to this. (Beyond the financial reverberations of a Euro crash, of course) As it's been gracefully mentioned before we do have our own problems that are dominating our attention. I know I had never heard of Herman Von Rompuy or Jose Barroso before digging for that information myself.

    I doubt such an ultimatum would ever have to be answered, but if I had to I'd support the UK over a despotic EU out of principle rather than business. I've gained a new admiration for the British for defending their democracy as strongly as they have.

    By the way, disagreeing with the EU's current direction doesn't mean hatred of Europe or Europeans nor a desire to see them warring again. It means disagreement with the EU's current direction.

    February 17, 2012 at 2:43 pm |
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