Published on 9 Dec 2011

Sarkozy to Cameron: ‘You can’t have an offshore centre’

David Cameron got quite a tongue-lashing from President Sarkozy in last night’s European Council session. The French President said to Mr Cameron that they were all gathered to try to sort out the eurozone and he was coming along with irrelevant demands to have an offshore centre taking capital away from the rest of Europe. EU sources say they now strongly expect President Sarkozy to renew his efforts to clip the City of London’s wings.

There’s much muttering here about what William Hague was doing in the PM’s delegation, all night in the UK offices in the European Council building. I haven’t seen any other EU foreign secretaries here. Mr Hague told one inquisitive reporter that he just happened to be in Brussels for a Nato meeting, so thought he’d pop in. There’s inevitably speculation that he was some kind of Euro-sceptic Suslov figure in the room¬† to make sure nothing unacceptable to the Euro-sceptics got through. I’m not sure the Euro-sceptics will be satiated with the overnight red meat.

Looking out at the massive infrastructure of the EU in Brussels – grey stone and dark glass as far as the eye can see – you have to pinch yourself to imagine that the eurozone countries are, just because David Cameron wouldn’t sign up to a treaty change of the 27, going to say “fine, we won’t use any of this kit, we’ll just set up a shed down the road and organise our affairs from there.” But when you ask David Cameron “so what did wielding the veto actually win for Britain” that is one of the prizes he lists – making sure that the European Commission etc. serve the wider 27, not the 17. Talk to EU sources here and they think that is deluded. President Barosso more or less said the same in his press conference last night.

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20 reader comments

  1. Prab says:


    What will happen if the Euro is a success and the European union ask all the financial institution to make europe as thier headquarters and they will get tax breaks by creating jobs within the european union. Mr Cameron has acted for the british people interest, if the financial institution moves to Europe in the next 10 years what will be the answer to UK Economy & the People.

    I am worries

  2. Philip Edwards says:


    I hope Merkel and Sarkozy do a great deal better than “clip the wings” of the City of London. I hope they stuff the bird and then roast it in the oven……and then feed it to street animals.

    As for the “tongue lashing” given to our Downing Street public school prefect – brilliant, I only wish I could have been a fly on the wall. Sarkozy should have made him touch his toes too………

    Then again, everything that happened is exactly as I forecast on your blog a few days ago. You don’t have to be an economist or political scientist to see which way these creeps will jump. You just need your own common sense.

    So here’s another (repeat) forecast: in the coming months we will see a sly assault on the Welfare State and the principle of universal benefits. This will be a preliminary to reducing payments even for the most disadvantaged. The justification will be nothing but weasel words and lies.

    If you doubt the latter observation I suggest you take a look at an appalling piece of right wing BBC TV propaganda fronted by John Humphries on the subject a few weeks ago. This was but the first shot.

    Soon we will see a return to the workhouse…sorry, “workfare…

    1. Richard B says:

      Turn the light out when you emigrate won’t you. One less europhile won’t be missed.

  3. Saltaire Sam says:

    DC deluded? Surely not.

    How can the man who thought private sector jobs would fill the gaps left by sacking private sector workers be called deluded?

    Or the man who originally thought the markets would sort out the Northern Rock problem?

    Or the man who thought the NHS privatisation would go through without complaint?

    Or the man who thought he could make the tory party compassionate?

    Or the man who thought employing Andy Coulson was a good idea?

    DC deluded? Well, maybe, just a little.

  4. Phil says:

    It is a great opportunity for all europeans to get rid of the UK once and for all !

    1. Adrian M says:

      @Phil What, get rid of the UK, AND the UK’s 2nd highest net financial contribution to the EU?

  5. PAUL RIGLER says:


    1. sue_m says:

      I guess your comment is ironic?

      Looks like it was the other way around to me.

  6. George Thorburn says:

    Cameron,like most Britons should not give a damn or lose any sleep about what Sarkozy or any other Euro Zealot says about him/us. They need to be shaken up after creating such a mess and such a top heavy oppressive organisation of jobsworths!

    Cameron should be Knighted for what he did last night!

    Sarkozy and Merkel are determined to rule Europe and bully everyone else to play their tune. Britain has the capabilities of being tax haven status like Switzerland on the edge of Europe providing Cameron nationalises RBS, Halifax and Lloyds and gets our economy moving again.Cut overheads in these banks and lend to British businesses and residents at no more than 2% over base. The world could be Britain’s oyster whilst the Europeans waste energy on trying to save a fundamentally flawed pipe dream that will never work. Let them drown in their own bureaucratic juices! Britain needs to cut its cloth now to promote Britain, the British and Sterling.

  7. M_kirk says:

    Thank god for David Cameron and thank god miliband doesn’t hold power, it sounds as if he would have just caved to French demands and sacrificed Britain to marginally help the fools who run Greece and Italy.

    Why why why do these European countries expect Britain to weakly submit to be massively taxed for the benefit of all. Why are they doing it at all? Now the continent will become ever weaker as even more financial transactions are run through Britain!

    There will be 10 years of bad times but hopefully we won’t feel the full force of it whilst others will; entirely of their own making from the decisions they made today.

  8. Matt says:

    You write as if we care about what people like Barroso and van Rompuy think!

    These two have presided over the failure of the EU and will end up presiding over the disintegration of the doomed Euro, lead an organisation that hasn’t had its accounts signed off for 17 years and which is locked in a downward spiral of debt and high taxes.

    This is one group we WANT to be isolated from!

  9. Tom Wright says:

    Sarkozy cannot stop European banks trading in London. They will move here en masse – that is the real reason he is angry.

    The alternative is the money goes to New York, either way we are better off out.

  10. Anthony Gunning says:

    I’m glad most commentators seem so certain where they stand in term’s of Cameron’s veto. I’m in two minds: partly reluctantly admiring Cameron’s gung-ho stand against the irritating Sarkozy; partly afraid of what might ensue…

  11. Philip Nash says:

    A little way down the road the rump of the British Empire will be a bankrupt England left to wallow in poverty for most of us and luxury for our privileged few lots of Gilbert and Sullivan, pomp and circumstance but nothing of substance euro-sceptics will love it the rest of us will wait for the next round of riots. Those of you who can see anything optimistic in what is happening enjoy your dreams. They will probably be all you will get

  12. EngineerChris says:

    David Cameron has left us isolated and without friends in the group of countries with whom we do most business. So much effort concentrated in making sure the City wasn’t to be affected. So much for a new wider view on making a more balanced economy. Does he think this will help us increase our manufacturing base? I doubt the son of a banker has given it a seconds thought. To the people who justify not joining the euro by pointing to how it’s affected Italy and Greece are deluded. We’re nothing like those countries and just because we’re not in the euro doesn’t mean we’re not heavily exposed to the situation. This move just makes it more difficult to influence other European countries into running their affairs in a way in which we are less exposed. A very sad day for Britain. I can no longer look at our European friends without a red face of a parent who’s just played out a tantrum at their friends’ birthday party. Embarrassingly shirt sighted and uncooperative. It’s even made Sarkozy look good!

  13. jude says:

    Its the City that has caused the financial ruin that is devastating the world. The pay a few quid to keep it there to the likes of Cameron, but thats only to keep the mouth pieces from spilling the beans on the great scams they run. Without those vampires sucking the blood out of economies to line their own pockets the world would be a much better place. Our declining living standards are a direct result of their greed. As if there were anything someone with little power as Cameron could do anyway. The City owns him and everyone else

  14. Richard B says:

    We Import more than we export to the EU, we have a net outflow of over £10 m per day. They need us a whole lot more than we need them. The whole euro project is one big money junket we did NOT vote for. This was a brilliant day to be British and to stop throwing money at one hypocritical gravy train. We are the only country to stand up to that utter nonsense and for that David Cameron should be congratulated. In time the Eurozone will thank us for standing firm and actually giving them free rein, finally, to do exactly as they please, as long as its without us. For now, they need to be seen to be irked by our media exaggerated grand standing.

  15. south pacific says:

    I live in one of Britain’s former colonies. We are glad we got you lot of our back and we are doing better than you economically.

    I guess the continental Europeans will make the same experience.

    As for those who think you have much to trade think again.
    Why buy British? Asia has stuff to sell that one needs and it is cheaper. Besides what gods do you have to offer? No cars, no electronic goods, no white goods for the home. That stuff you can get from Asia.

    Also Asia buys stuff from us that they want and we have to sell.

    Someone said here Britain imports more than it exports to the Continent. Looks like you have a problem. The continent is a big market right at your door and you can’t sell enough to them than they sell to you. Perhaps you haven’t got the right goods to sell.

    As far as the financial services industry is concerned, everyone knows that it is run by crooks. They caused the GFC and now they are speculating against the euro. No wonder the continentals want to sort this lot out and rightly so.

    Democracy. Recent events have shown that power in a democracy is exercised by money. DC is puppet of the city of London. A clear example of this fact of…

    1. M_kirk says:

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