Cameron okays integration in return for new EU deal for UK

PM demands concessions as quid pro quo for closer eurozone monetary union

Political Editor, Brussels

David Cameron has vowed to turn the eurozone's drive towards greater integration to his advantage by winning Britain a new EU deal in return for allowing a “two-speed Europe.”

At a two-day summit in Brussels, Mr Cameron told his EU counterparts he would not stand in their way as the eurozone forged a much closer economic and monetary union to safeguard the crisis-hit single currency. 

But he warned them he would demand concessions in return for Britain signing the new 27-nation EU-wide treaty that will eventually be needed to allow eurozone nations to mutualise debt, give Brussels a greater say over national governments’ fiscal policies and create a “euro area” budget. The most likely British demands are a repatriation to the UK Government of powers on employment and fisheries policies.

However, some other EU nations are warning Britain not to “overplay its hand” and believe any concessions would be very limited.

In a landmark speech on Europe next month, the Prime Minister will promise a referendum on such a  “new settlement” – but not until after the 2015 general election.

Mr Cameron said: “Britain’s not in the euro, we’re not going to join the euro, so we won’t be part of that integration. But this change taking place does give us the opportunities to argue for the things that we want in Europe and get a better deal for Britain in Europe.”

He added: "That’s what I’m interested in discussing and pursuing for Britain. That won’t be decided today but it’s a start of some important conversations where I think Britain can actually do better.”

The Prime Minister claimed the UK had won a significant victory by ensuring that the first step - a banking union - would not undermine the premier position of the City of London. The 27 EU leaders rubber-stamped a deal struck by their finance ministers at dawn yesterday after a marathon 14-hour negotiation.

The European Central Bank (ECB) will become the supervisory body for about 200 of the biggest banks in the eurozone, but will not discriminate against a country or currency.

Decisions by the European Banking Authority (EBA), which sets rules for banks across the EU, will require a majority of both the countries inside the banking union and those outside it, protecting Britain’s position. UK ministers say this sets an important precedent – allowing countries in the EU’s “outer tier” to influence decisions by those who opt for greater integration.

Britain will oppose European Parliament proposals  to cap bankers’ bonuses at twice their salary, warning that banks could get round it by raising basic salaries.  But Mr Cameron faces criticism from Labour for being “soft” on bankers and may not be able to stop the move when it is discussed by EU  leaders next year.

At the summit, doubts about the pace of integration surfaced as Germany and the Netherlands sought to water down a firm timetable proposed by Herman Van Rompuy, President of the European Council - the 27 leaders.

The way ahead: EU’s possible course

January 2013: David Cameron’s speech to promise referendum on UK’s “new settlement” with EU

February 2013: EU leaders resume talks on budget for 2014-20

Early 2014: European Central Bank begins direct supervision of 200 eurozone banks

Later in 2014: European Stability Mechanism, the eurozone’s bailout fund, might inject money directly into ailing banks

June 2014: European Parliament elections. Ukip could top UK poll

November 2014: New European Commission takes over

December 2014: New European Council President will succeed Herman Van Rompuy

May 2015: British general election

2016: UK demands repatriation of powers during negotiations on new EU treaty

2017? British referendum on whether to accept new membership terms offered in the negotiations

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
news
Arts and Entertainment
British author Helen Macdonald, pictured with Costa book of the year, 'H is for Hawk'
booksPanel hail Helen Macdonald's 'brilliantly written, muscular prose' in memoir of a grief-stricken daughter who became obsessed with training a goshawk
Sport
footballLive blog: Follow the action from the Capital One Cup semi-final
Life and Style
food + drink
PROMOTED VIDEO
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Recruitment Genius: Web Developer - PHP

£16500 - £16640 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This fast growing Finance compa...

Ashdown Group: Client Services Manager - Relationship Management - London

£30000 - £32000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, int...

Recruitment Genius: Credit Controller / Customer Service

£18000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This rapidly expanding business...

Guru Careers: In-House / Internal Recruiter

£25 - 28k + Bonus: Guru Careers: An In-house / Internal Recruiter is needed to...

Day In a Page

Greece elections: In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza

Greece elections

In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza, says Patrick Cockburn
Holocaust Memorial Day: Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears

Holocaust Memorial Day

Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears over Europe
Homeless Veterans appeal: Homeless in Wales can find inspiration from Daniel’s story

Homeless Veterans appeal

Homeless in Wales can find inspiration from Daniel’s story
Front National family feud? Marine Le Pen and her relatives clash over French far-right party's response to Paris terror attacks

Front National family feud?

Marine Le Pen and her relatives clash over French far-right party's response to Paris terror attacks
Woman who was sent to three Nazi death camps describes how she escaped the gas chamber

Auschwitz liberation 70th anniversary

Woman sent to three Nazi death camps describes surviving gas chamber
DSK, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel

The inside track on France's trial of the year

Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel:
As provocative now as they ever were

Sarah Kane season

Why her plays are as provocative now as when they were written
Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of a killing in Iraq 11 years ago

Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of another killing

Japanese mood was against what was seen as irresponsible trips to a vicious war zone
Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century