June 4, 2015
The British press is understandably worried about reports that the UK could lose its veto right in exchange for an explicit opt-out from the Union’s objective of “ever closer union”.
Commentators have gone so far as to argue that Cameron suffered a “setback” when France and Germany laid down plans for deeper integration in the eurozone, including a special budget, and some kind of parliamentary “chamber” from which Britain would be excluded.
After all, the proposals went in the opposite direction that Cameron wants for Britain, which is less integration, not more – so this must be bad news for the UK Prime Minister.
Heard in Europe believes exactly the opposite. During the sovereign debt crisis, Cameron has repeatedly urged deeper integration in the eurozone to help it solve its problems. Who was the one pushing his colleagues to make use of “the big bazooka” to end the euro crisis?
In fact, Cameron has an interest in formalising a two-speed Europe, with the eurozone at its core and a less integrated EU in the outer ring focused on the single market. And discussions on a special eurozone budget or parliamentary chamber are nothing new.
So the only real question is not so much whether a two-speed Europe will happen, but rather how and when.
Here is a selection of articles we pulled out from the EurActiv archives, which are worth a second read. The lines have not fundamentally moved since they were published.
- EU comes to terms with ‘two-speed Europe’ (14 Nov. 2011)
- Hollande: Eurozone budget will come ‘in addition, not in substitution’ of EU budget (19 Oct. 2012)
- Van Rompuy fleshes out plans for two-tier Europe, eurozone budget (6 Dec. 2012)
- Hollande: Treaty change ‘necessary’ to deepen eurozone (28 June 2013)
Photo courtesy of The Open University. Published under a Creative Commons licence.Heard in Europe