9 Dec 2011

Cameron vetoes EU treaty deal

David Cameron has refused to sign up to the EU treaty deal saying it is not in Britain’s interest, leaving Europe to agree reforms without the UK.

After 10 hours of talks in Brussels about how to bring stability to the eurozone and European markets, David Cameron has refused to agree to the proposed EU reform deal.

Hungary has also opted out of the treaty deal, and the Czech Republic and Sweden will consult with their parliaments before making a decision. But the rest of Europe will go ahead with talks aimed at saving the eurozone.

EU leaders had been hoping for a treaty change agreed by all 27 countries. But Mr Cameron said that if Britain could not opt out of the proposed financial regulations, it was not in the country’s interests to accept the proposal.

Speaking at a press conference in the early hours of Friday morning, the prime minister said he “effectively wielded the veto”.

“It was a tough decision but the right one,” he added.

‘Unacceptable’ demands

French President Nicolas Sarkozy responded by saying that Mr Cameron’s demands were “unacceptable”.

“We were not able to accept (the British demands) because we consider quite the contrary – that a very large and substantial amount of the problems we are facing around the world are a result of lack of regulation of financial services and therefore can’t have a waiver for the United Kingdom,” he said.

But Mr Cameron said he had to secure British interests.

“We want the Eurozone countries to come together and solve their problems. But we should only allow that to happen within the EU treaties if there are proper protections for the single market, for other key British interests,” he said.

“Without those safeguards it is better not to have a treaty within a treaty, but have those countries make their arrangements separately.

He added that his decision had not soured UK relations with the rest of Europe.

Read more: EU leaders prepare for last chance sumit

EU decides to go ahead

However there are fears that Mr Cameron’s decision to block the “last chance” treaty change risks isolating the UK even further, and is likely to result in EU decision bound to affect the UK, will go ahead without British representation.

European Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso said he regretted that unanimity on a treaty change had not been possible.

“Those that have today approved this new fiscal compact have stated that they want to put it as soon as possible into a new fully-fledged treaty, after revision of the current treaties,” he said.

“Having seen it was not possible to get unanimity, it was the proper decision to go ahead at least with those ready to commit immediately. That includes all 17 in the eurozone, plus some who are not in the euro area but want to take part in this fiscal compact.”