Sarkozy wrongfoots Cameron as he calls for two-tier Europe
Any new EU treaty would prove difficult for PM to sell to his Conservative colleagues
Friday 02 December 2011
David Cameron's hopes of avoiding a new European Union treaty were dealt a blow last night when Nicolas Sarkozy bowed to German demands for a new EU blueprint.
On the eve of one-to-one talks in Paris with Mr Cameron today, the French President said he and Angela Merkel, the German Chancellor, would propose a new treaty to "refound" the EU when they meet in the French capital on Monday.
Mr Cameron had hoped to enlist Mr Sarkozy's support for a revolt by some EU members against Germany's plans for a new treaty to entrench reforms to the eurozone. Their leaders are worried that referendums in countries including Ireland could delay the process for months or even years.
But as the price for a deal to resolve the long-running eurozone crisis, Ms Merkel is insisting on a new blueprint to entrench tough rules forcing eurozone countries to balance their books.
If a summit of EU leaders next week approves the Franco-German plan for a new treaty, Mr Cameron would come under pressure from Eurosceptic Conservative MPs to call a UK referendum on it. Although he would resist their demands, the treaty would still need to approved by the Commons and the House of Lords.
At next week's summit, the Prime Minister will warn fellow EU leaders that he would demand concessions for Britain in order to smooth the passage of a treaty through Parliament. These could include diluting the EU's "maximum 48-hour working week" directive in Britain.
Speaking in Toulon last night, Mr Sarkozy warned against a march towards a United States of Europe. But he declared that he and Ms Merkel would bring forward proposals to try to lift Europe out of its debt crisis and "guarantee" its future. "France will push with Germany for a new European treaty, refounding and rethinking the organisation of Europe," he said.
The Maastricht Treaty, which led to the launch of the single currency in 1999, had proved to be "imperfect," he added. "There can be no common currency without economic convergence, without which the euro will be too strong for some, too weak for others, and the eurozone will break up."
Mr Sarkozy admitted that negotiating a new treaty among all 27 EU members would be a "long and difficult" process. British ministers would probably have preferred a more limited deal among the 17 nations using the euro that would not require the approval of the 10 countries, including the UK, outside the currency zone.
Mr Cameron will seek assurances that the 17 must not act as a "caucus" which takes the key decisions for the EU and then imposes them on the10 "outs".
- 1 Frank Lampard's face drops when Holly Willoughby introduces him as a 'Man City legend'
- 2 Sofyen Belamouadden murder: The inside story of a crime that horrified Britain
- 3 Company breaks open Apple Watch to discover what it says is 'planned obsolescence'
- 4 The Visit: Trailer for M Night Shyamalan's latest horror film is terrifying
- 5 9/11: Iranian General accuses US of organising September 11 terror attacks
General Election 2015: Tories sack candidate who said she would never support 'the Jew' Ed Miliband
9/11: Iranian General accuses US of organising September 11 terror attacks
General Election 2015: Stephen Hawking says he will vote Labour
Manny Pacquiao begs Indonesia president to spare life of drug smuggler Mary Jane Veloso about to be executed
Yazidi sex slaves undergoing surgery to 'restore virginity' after being raped by Isis militants
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
The sickening truth about food banks that the Tories don't want you to know
Aaron and Melissa Klein: Oregon anti-gay bakers ordered to pay $135,000 after refusing to make cake for same-sex wedding
Andrew Lloyd Webber: Phantom of the Opera writer mocked after issuing a warning about Ed Miliband and Nicola Sturgeon
General election 2015: Labour will toughen hate crimes legislation surrounding Islamophobia
HSBC review into moving headquarters from UK 'underway'
£65000 - £68000 per annum + Bonus and 26 days holidays: Ashdown Group: Head of...
£17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This European market leader for security...
£16000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Photographer/ Floor planner /...
£30000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Front-End Developer - Guildford/Craw...