Leading article: A common partnership

Share
Related Topics

For a Prime Minister and former chancellor not conspicuously distinguished by Europhile tendencies, Gordon Brown has notched up an impressive number of cross-Channel Airmiles in recent months. Yesterday found him lunching with President Sarkozy in a strike-bound Paris, before moving on to Brussels for the European Union spring summit. When this meeting ends today, it may be a little clearer – though probably not much – how far the 27 EU members have managed to coordinate a joint approach to the economic crisis.

The signs so far have not been promising, at least not for the Prime Minister's hopes of finalising an international economic stimulus package in London. The French, and even more so the Germans, have been openly sceptical of such a deal from an early stage. Chancellor Merkel yesterday reiterated her determination to see what effect existing measures would have before committing herself to anything more. M. Sarkozy was believed to have delivered the same message over the Elysée lunch.

While resistant to calls to stimulate the global economy, most European countries appear amenable to a joint regulatory regime for banking and finance – even if, in the first instance, changes might be confined to the EU. As it happened, Lord Turner's proposed overhaul of Britain's financial services brought such joint action a step closer by recommending a pan-European body to coordinate supervision. EU governments also appear willing to sign up to oppose protectionism, though words, deeds and definitions will need close scrutiny.

There is still a fortnight before the London summit. And Mr Brown has a powerful ally for his stimulus plan in President Obama. But he would be wise not to aim too high. When it can agree, the EU – even without Britain – can be a powerful force. With the notable exception on one occasion of Germany's Finance minister, Peer Steinbrueck, the French and Germans have so far refrained from reminding Mr Brown of what has befallen the "Anglo-Saxon model" Britain once tried to foist on them. Britain is in no position to dictate terms; we need our partnership with Europe as rarely before.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: QA Technician

£16000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This leading manufacturer of re...

Recruitment Genius: Office Administrator

£20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Due to expansion, an experienced and hig...

SThree: Graduate Recruitment Resourcer

£20000 per annum + commission: SThree: Sthree have an exciting opportunity for...

Recruitment Genius: Plumbing & Heating / Bathroom Trade Counter Sales

£22000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This well established London ba...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

Children shouldn’t even know the word 'diet' — obesity and lack of body confidence are symptoms of the same cause

Natasha Devon
Rihanna, Nicki Minaj, Madonna, Deadmau5, Kanye West and Jay-Z at the Tidal launch event in New York  

Tidal: An overpriced music streaming service that only benefits the super-rich members of a messianic-like cult? Where do I sign up??

Michael Segalov
General Election 2015: The masterminds behind the scenes

The masterminds behind the election

How do you get your party leader to embrace a message and then stick to it? By employing these people
Machine Gun America: The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons

Machine Gun America

The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons
The ethics of pet food: Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?

The ethics of pet food

Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?
How Tansy Davies turned 9/11 into her opera 'Between Worlds'

How a composer turned 9/11 into her opera 'Between Worlds'

Tansy Davies makes her operatic debut with a work about the attack on the Twin Towers. Despite the topic, she says it is a life-affirming piece
11 best bedside tables

11 best bedside tables

It could be the first thing you see in the morning, so make it work for you. We find night stands, tables and cabinets to wake up to
Italy vs England player ratings: Did Andros Townsend's goal see him beat Harry Kane and Wayne Rooney to top marks?

Italy vs England player ratings

Did Townsend's goal see him beat Kane and Rooney to top marks?
Danny Higginbotham: An underdog's tale of making the most of it

An underdog's tale of making the most of it

Danny Higginbotham on being let go by Manchester United, annoying Gordon Strachan, utilising his talents to the full at Stoke and plunging into the world of analysis
Audley Harrison's abusers forget the debt he's due, but Errol Christie will always remember what he owes the police

Steve Bunce: Inside Boxing

Audley Harrison's abusers forget the debt he's due, but Errol Christie will always remember what he owes the police
No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat