Editorial: Everyone's a winner in Brussels



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

Recruitment Genius: Senior Digital Marketing Consultant

£28000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Senior Digital Marketing Cons...

Recruitment Genius: Assistant Stores Keeper

£16640 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Assistant Stores Keeper is r...

Recruitment Genius: Claims Administrator

£16000 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an excellent opportunit...

Recruitment Genius: Software Developer - C# / ASP.NET / SQL

£17000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Developer required to join a bu...

Day In a Page

Read Next

Election catch-up: I’m not saying the Ed stone is bad – it is so terrible I am lost for words

John Rentoul

Election 2015: The SNP and an SMC (Salmond-Murdoch Conspiracy)

Matthew Norman
Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living