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EUROPE > EU chief challenges UK on unity

LONDON / FRANKFURT

The European Union’s patience with Britain begins to wear thin as current and former officials accuse the country of self-serving interests

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British Prime Minister David Cameron (L) talks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel at a EU summit in Brussels. AP photo

British Prime Minister David Cameron (L) talks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel at a EU summit in Brussels. AP photo

British Prime Minister David Cameron’s attempts to win back powers from the European Union could cause the 27-nation bloc to fall apart, its president Herman Van Rompuy said in an interview Dec. 27.

Cameron, who is under pressure from “euroskeptics” in his Conservative party, said last month he still supports British membership of the EU but wants a “new settlement” that involves winning opt-outs on key issues. “If every member state were able to cherry-pick those parts of existing policies that they most like, and opt out of those that they least like, the union in general, and the single market in particular, would soon unravel,” Van Rompuy told The Guardian newspaper.

“All member states can, and do, have particular requests and needs that are always taken into consideration as part of our deliberations,” he said.

“I do not expect any member state to seek to undermine the fundamentals of our co-operative system in Europe,” Van Rompuy said, adding that changes to EU treaties under Cameron’s proposed opt-outs would involve a “lengthy and cumbersome procedure” needing the unanimous agreement of all states in the bloc. A day after Van Rompuy’s remarks, former EU Commission chief Jacques Delors said Britain could leave the union and enter into a different sort of partnership with the political and economic bloc instead. “The British are solely concerned about their economic interests, nothing else. They could be offered a different form of partnership,” Delors said. “If the British cannot support the trend toward more integration in Europe, we can nevertheless remain friends, but on a different basis,” the French former minister said. “I could imagine a form such as a European economic area or a free trade agreement,” Delors said.

Britain was “strategically and economically important,” and should remain “a privileged partner,” he insisted.

December/29/2012

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john albay

1/1/2013 3:53:24 PM

The british are 100% correct to want back their soverenty from the undemocratic EU. The british people voted to join a trading block and not for a political union,run by the germans,who the british defeated in 2 world wars,which cost them their empire.Soon the german taxpayer will rebel against their tax money being used to support and bail out corrupt states like greek cyprus,greece spain et.al. The EU is a giant swindle run by power mad failed ex EU leaders and ministers.

Brit in Turkey

12/31/2012 11:41:27 AM

mike alexander. I worked for a very large American corporation in England, Europe and briefly in America in the 80s as a management trainer. I actually identified with and liked the way of working, but I agree, there was a lot of opposition from Brits especially "died in the wool" middle-managers. That doesn't mean to say they could not be won over. Happy New Year to you despite animosities. And Chris, keep up the good work in '13. Mutlu Yıllar one and all.

Chris Green

12/31/2012 12:36:36 AM

Brit, this Alexander guy appears to be an American 'Greek' or a Greek emigre to the USA or is the derivative thereof. The 'irrelevant' status seems to be one he is over qualified to reside in! Happy New Year, Brit! :-)

mike alexander

12/31/2012 12:23:39 AM

Brit in Turkey, You proved my point. You asked for my nationality in order to decide if I should be relevant to you or not. So you decode about a person based on her/his nationality ! This is exactly what I mean about the English my friend. The Turkish friend must understand exactly what I mean. By the way, If I was to tell you my nationality you'll be very disappointed !

mike alexander

12/31/2012 12:08:10 AM

Brit in Turkey, please do not be so sensitive and jumpy. I do not hate anyone. I just read History and have personal experience with England. I was assigned by a corp to England for 5 years & I made the decision to leave the country in 1.5 years because I couldn't take the way they operate. Even if they paid me $15,000/mth they never took advantage of my experience. They just thought that they were smarter than I am & they did not bother to follow instsuctions. & much more ....

Brit in Turkey

12/30/2012 4:57:44 PM

mike alexander. As you seems to hate Britain so much it would be nice to know your nationality, as most posters here are honest enough to admit to. We could then be equally scathing about your country or ignore you as irrelevant whichever seems appropriate..

Brit in Turkey

12/30/2012 4:54:25 PM

mike alexander. It is for the benefit to the UK that the Brits want out, and not a benefit to stay in. I believe the latest polls show that the majority of Scots want to stay within the UK and are unlikely to vote for independence. Brits are proudly independent people who hate being pushed around by others, especially unelected foreigners. It comes from being an island nation of seafarers. We did not vote for a political EU, but for trade ties, but we got stuck with the former.

Chris Green

12/30/2012 2:43:01 PM

Please be aware all of you posting here, especially the Brit hater Alexander, that the majority of us here never wanted to even join the EU and will be quite happy to leave or adopt a Norwegian solution! If William Hague were PM we would have had the referendum by now. Expect gains from the BNP in 2014 leading to the General Election here in 2015. It is Greece and GC that need kicking out; at least as the 3rd largest net contributor, UK pays its way in the UK unlike the Greek contingent!

Rimon Tree

12/30/2012 10:52:59 AM

@ Karl Sorry, but I think it's the idiots in EU who cause such reactions. Actually in Europe nobody is happy with that money-devouring no-doings in Brussel. EU should return to as what it started, an economy agreement and stop to pretend that all the different nationalities and cultures, grown in centuries have something like "common values", only value they have in common is the surplus value. All that nationalities and cultures are precious and worth to be preserved instead of being unityped.

mike alexander

12/29/2012 10:51:16 PM

Kick UK out of EU. They are not in the EU for the EU. They are for their own benefit. Let Scotia become a member as Ireland is !! (let us sse if you are going to publish this one !)
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