Editorial: Everyone's a winner in Brussels

 

Share

Yesterday's non-result at the European Union summit seemed already written in the stars when Chancellor Angela Merkel arrived in Brussels on Thursday. She said that, if there was no agreement, the leaders could reconvene in the new year in a fresh effort to hammer out a deal. These turned out to be wise words. They meant that failure to agree could be treated as a staging post, rather than collapse. The sense of grand crisis, which reigned after David Cameron wielded Britain's veto last December, was thus avoided.

That summit, of course, was about saving the euro, and not about the EU budget. And this makes a difference. Here, the 27 are on familiar territory, and there is no question of anyone – net donor or beneficiary – opting out. Each country's interests and positions are largely known, as is the degree of latitude. If Ms Merkel is right again, the EU is on track for a compromise in January. What she actually said was "there is sufficient potential for an agreement". When even David Cameron says a deal is "do-able", it sounds less like whistling in the dark.

At least, they can all reflect, they broke up in time to snatch a weekend at home, rather than dispersing angry and frustrated in the small hours of tomorrow morning. That itself might reflect a certain coming of age. And something similar might be said, for once, of the UK's participation. For all his insistence that what happened last December was Britain standing up for itself and the result of a conscious plan, Mr Cameron's approach this time around suggests a number of lessons learnt.

First, he arrived early to meet the chairman, Herman Van Rompuy. Second, he avoided wholly negative rhetoric and stuck to a reasonable-sounding message to the effect that, when cutting at home, he could hardly sign up to extra spending in Europe. Third, he went out of his way afterwards to stress that Britain was not alone. Last December, he had presented isolation as positive. Clearly there has been a re-think. On a scale of good to appalling outcomes in Brussels, of which Britain has run the gamut over the years, this summit must rate not too bad, either for Europe or, unusually, for the UK.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Training Programme Manager (Learning and Development)-London

£28000 - £32000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Training Programme Manage...

VB.Net Developer - £40k - Surrey - WANTED ASAP

£35000 - £40000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: .Mid Level V...

Digitakl Business Analyst, Slough

£40000 - £45000 per annum + Competitive Benefits: Progressive Recruitment: Dig...

Mechanical Estimator: Nuclear Energy - Sellafield

£40000 - £50000 per annum + Car, Medical, Fuel + More!: Progressive Recruitmen...

Day In a Page

Read Next
'Our media are suffering a new experience: not fear of being called anti-Semitic'  

Dress the Gaza situation up all you like, but the truth hurts

Robert Fisk
David Cameron (pictured) can't steal back my party's vote that easily, says Nigel Farage  

Cameron’s benefits pledge is designed to lure back Ukip voters. He’ll have to try harder

Nigel Farage
Dress the Gaza situation up all you like, but the truth hurts

Robert Fisk on Gaza conflict

Dress the situation up all you like, but the truth hurts
Save the tiger: Tiger, tiger burning less brightly as numbers plummet

Tiger, tiger burning less brightly

When William Blake wrote his famous poem there were probably more than 100,000 tigers in the wild. These days they probably number around 3,200
5 News's Andy Bell retraces his grandfather's steps on the First World War battlefields

In grandfather's footsteps

5 News's political editor Andy Bell only knows his grandfather from the compelling diary he kept during WWI. But when he returned to the killing fields where Edwin Vaughan suffered so much, his ancestor came to life
Lifestyle guru Martha Stewart reveals she has flying robot ... to take photos of her farm

Martha Stewart has flying robot

The lifestyle guru used the drone to get a bird's eye view her 153-acre farm in Bedford, New York
Former Labour minister Meg Hillier has demanded 'pootling lanes' for women cyclists

Do women cyclists need 'pootling lanes'?

Simon Usborne (who's more of a hurtler) explains why winning the space race is key to happy riding
A tale of two presidents: George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story

A tale of two presidents

George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story
Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover

The dining car makes a comeback

Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover
Gallery rage: How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?

Gallery rage

How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?
Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players

Eye on the prize

Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players
Women's rugby: Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup

Women's rugby

Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup
Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
We will remember them: relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War

We will remember them

Relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War
Star Wars Episode VII is being shot on film - and now Kodak is launching a last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Kodak's last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Director J J Abrams and a few digital refuseniks shoot movies on film. Simon Usborne wonders what the fuss is about
Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

Acting in video games gets a makeover

David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices