cameron-vetoLast night, the British government suffered a “stinging defeat” in the House of Commons after more than 50 Conservative rebel backbenchers joined forces with opposition Labour MPs to demand a real-term reduction in the EU’s budget. The vote is not binding on Mr Cameron, who could choose to ignore it when European leaders meet at a summit in Brussels on 22 November to discuss the EU’s next seven year budget. However, Mr Cameron will need the eventual support of parliament to approve the budget, so this places him in a difficult spot.

Cameron has already threatened to use his veto during the budget negotiations if he doesn’t get his way (he’s seeking a “freeze” of the budget, that would see it rise no more than inflation), but EU rules mean a veto might actually end up increasing the budget regardless. Furthermore, relationships between the UK and other member states are already strained after Cameron last used his veto on the fiscal compact in December 2011. Any further “handbagging” from the British Prime Minister, then, risks damaging what goodwill remains.

In September, as part of our series examining the troubled British relationship with the EU, we interviewed Phillip Souta, the Director of Business for New Europe. Mr Souta was on BBC Newsnight recently, arguing with Mark Reckless, one of the Conservative rebels who voted with Labour against the government last night. When we spoke to Mr Souta, we asked him how far the UK would be able to push its luck in terms of renegotiations and opt-outs from the EU before the other member-states had simply had enough.

Christos from Greece, for example, sent us in a comment arguing that there should be “no more cherry-picking” when it comes to EU laws. If the UK is allowed to get opt-outs from laws, then other countries should be able to do the same, but, asks Christos: “How can we build a functioning union if every state picks only what suits them and opts out from what it doesn’t?”

Phillip Souta argued that ideally, treaty rules would apply to everyone, but that the UK is not unique in having opt-outs and there’s “nothing in principle stopping member-states from [negotiating] opt-outs”.

We had a comment from Jaroslav, however, who argued that Britain already has too many opt-outs, and that renegotiating further loosening of the rules will be impossible, until eventually “Britain will have to choose between [staying in the] EU with all its pros and cons, or simply leaving.”

What do YOU think? Should David Cameron veto the EU budget? Or would this achieve nothing but further damage to Britain’s relationships in Europe? Should the UK pursue a strategy of renegotiation and opt-outs from EU law? Or is it time for the UK to simply choose to either accept the EU (“warts and all”) or hold a referendum and, possibly, leave for good? Let us know your thoughts and comments in the form below, and we’ll take them to policy-makers and experts for their response.

53 comments Post a commentcomment

  1. avatar
    Maro Kouris

    Greece must sue Britain 300 billion Euros at the European Court of Justice, for providing support to the instalation and operation of the Greek military junta from 1967-1974 to pave the way for the Turkish military division of Cyprus. Many Greeks suffered torture and perished in the struggle to re-install Greek democracy during the UK-US sponsored Greek military Junta (1967-1974).

  2. avatar
    Maro Kouris

    The Iraqi disaster was brought about by the full British and American support of the Turkish military occupation of Cyprus and their hostility to Cypriot EU membership. How many American and British military personnel perished in Iraq because of Turkeys military occupation of Cyprus? How many Iraqis perished because of American, British and Turkish actions in Iraq that were brought about by the Turkish military occupation of Cyprus?

  3. avatar
    Davey Brown

    UK should simply cut its contributions unilaterally in line with the clear will of the taxpayer. This is OUR money, not the EU’s whose accounts are so corrupt they cannot be signed off. If they don’t like our reduction in our contribution then we leave! Simple!

    • avatar
      catherine benning

      Now how do you know what the British people think? Have they ever been asked if they want to pull out? They have the opportunity at every election to vote for UKIP and how many put their cross in that little box? Less than the BNP wasn’t it? Or, are you taking the role of our unelected head of state on this board and declaring your reigning powers supreme?

      What you are forgetting is, how many British people, who have intelligence and do not want to live in a state which has laws diverted toward a ruthless, ruling class who wishes they were back in Tudor England and had the majority of its ‘subjects’ tied to them in serfdom.

      What you must calculate is, how many will flee to Europe for asylum if you get your way? I suspect you will be left with only those who don’t work, either those in the billionaire class who feed off the poor and evade tax by taking their cash off shore, or, those who cannot afford to get out of it.

      Now there is a dilemma for you and Europe. What will they do to welcome the disaffected English if there is an out vote?

    • avatar
      Mark Thompson

      49% want to leave. 26% dont.

  4. avatar
    Hasan Özdemir

    Yes, Mr. Cameron should veto the upcoming EU budget absoluetly. Because the approach of EU is false exactly for the current economical crisis. The crisis does not solute much more money for the banks which they are head responsible from that crisis. The crisis’ can overcome only production how more technological and the bankruptcy of some banks.

  5. avatar

    Yes…then stop all mone to the eu…then leave.

  6. avatar
    Vicente Silva Tavares

    UK always have been a reluctant EU country. I suppose the best UK could do was leaving the EU and assume the economic risks resulting. Every country should have the right to decide if its People want to belong to some kind of partnership. Why they do not do a referendum? We can live without them.

  7. avatar
    Hasan Özdemir

    Reluctant is a false adjective for UK . True adjective is prudent. Because UK was right for the case of Ann Boleyn or to fought against Hitler or has not been entered Eurozone as History. ?f UK vetos the budget and even it becomes out EU in the end, it will be useful for all of Europe.

  8. avatar
    Omar Mateiro

    They also have french and normand roots and in those times they were europe. Ought to remember it more. Their behavior is such as if they were a country on Agreenmente, like Hungary for instance.

  9. avatar
    T. André Spruytte

    Personally I don’t see the EU achieving the greatness of its potential while the UK is a member state. I know not all the British are so, but most are reluctant Eurosceptics. In fact 90% of Eurosceptics are British. The European Union won’t be affective unless there is co-operation between all of the member states. I stress that very much. A veto from Prime Minister Cameron will not achieve anything it will just provide the EU with more division and hostilities.

    I myself am a Euro-Federalist yet I believe that a referendum in the UK on wether the UK should leave the EU or not, is best both for the United Kingdom and the European Union. The EU would function just fine without the UK, perhaps even better! Division is not needed in the European Union, the less the better.

    If Britain chooses the negative path and quits the EU, they would subsequently get left behind in history while the European Union becomes more integrated until finally it becomes a Federal state and possibly becomes the biggest card holder on the planet, economy, diplomacy and military wise.

    All I am trying to say is division will not solve any crisis it will only be the cause of more problems. Thats if most certainly not what Europe need right now!

  10. avatar
    Hasan Özdemir

    ?ronic : Britain wants running away from Europe but Turkey wants joining as a member in Europe for 60 years.

  11. avatar
    eusebio manuel vestias pecurto

    O Governo do Sir. Cameron deve participar com o sim para a votação do orçamento da UE o sir. Cameron dentro da UE não devia andar com as suas ideologias do contra os estados da UE tem capacidade para resolver esta decisão politica as politicas dentro da UE tem que ter capacidades para selecionar os problemas dos cidadãos europeus

  12. avatar
    Hasan Özdemir

    ?f that had have became possible , we would have wished take you place but if you have been there yet. You are absent we are absent too but ? wish stay there.

  13. avatar
    Laszlo Nagy

    Opt-outs are necessary to be (so there still can be countries without GMOs, for example |like Hungary|). With all these bailouts and crisises of the not too far past, a budget increase seems foreseeable anyway. Logically, if they plan to stay in the EU, they will not veto the budget.

  14. avatar
    Christos Mouzeviris

    Thank you Mr Souta for replying… I agree, but the UK has opt outs for almost everything, and even for the things that they are in, they want re-negotiations. If they powers of Europe want actually the EU to succeed, then they better give the best example to the newer or smaller states. If they are the ones who constantly opt out and renegotiate, then how can they put pressure on smaller states to abide by EU laws. If the UK can do it, then everyone can do it… It just goes nowhere…

  15. avatar

    No question, the EU budget must share the austerity in its member states.
    If this is the intention of Westminster and Cameron, criticism is not justified.
    How can the Commission (e.g. Lewantowsky) speak rudely about EU membership to the UK Parliament and at the same time looking away in the case of Greece, where a government obvously isn’t able to collect taxes from its rich?

    • avatar
      Christos Mouzeviris

      That Bastian would be because the Greek rich elite is not the only one that should face the music. So if the Commission goes after the Greek rich elite, so it should go after the rich of Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Britain and so on… Now who would want that!! Many European rich move to Switzerland or Monaco or Luxembourg. Themselves or their assets. If the Commission goes after the Greek rich elites (which they should) then the Greek rich will complain that it should go after all rich in Europe.. You see now where the problem lies. The EU and the EU Commission are protecting the rich and the businessmen of this continent, not the ordinary people. We need to change that!!

    • avatar
      catherine benning

      Which means, Christos, that a united Europe would stop this sabotage of its tax coffers across the entire continent post haste.

      If this union is going to pretend to be ‘fair’ to all then it has to start with a law that fits all its people. Both rich and poor. If the rich dodge their taxes, then, they too must face what the man in the street faces if he tries that caper. Penalties that are harsh and even jail.

      The UK of course is giving special lenience to very wealthy tax avoidance because, well they are all so cuddly and clubbable and a lot of them are friends and relatives of our top brass. Some related to that unelected head of state we have. So, no, they cannot be treated the same as the plebs. That may shift the power base too far in favour of the majority.

      Tax avoidance individuals must be forced to live where they store their cash. And be held as pariahs of all other European countries. Unable to buy or run companies, etc., inside the union on any level. Not allow their families access to the EU and so on.

      See how quick they start paying what they owe us all. When they dodge their taxes they are criminals stealing from us all.

      On Cameron’s reason for not wanting to pay an increase in the budget, is, in part on the button, because, the EU cannot be allowed to overspend on their ridiculous pet projects when they demand austerity of the rest of us. They must learn the lesson of priority budgets. And that means stop all spending that is not in the best interests of the European people directly. Including giving themselves a raise whilst most all ordinary people go without the basics in life, especially in those countries who are into fraud big time.

      Europe must account for the fact that auditors cannot balance their budget. What kind of a practice is that? And for how many years have they got away with it? It is blatant fiddling with no come back.

      And Britain should raise the issues that millions across the zone are not happy with too many practices forced on them over the last twenty five years in particular. Extradition to the USA for crimes not committed outside Europe. Curbing of mass immigration, regardless of the austerity process and millions of people in our States being unemployed. Get a grip on what is happening in Greece. The people there are living in a European war zone. Spend the excess they feel they need for themselves there, bringing that country back to an equilibrium needed for a civilised life. Shut the door to all countries who cannot afford to be part of the union until they are and it is solvent.

      Reform the laws unacceptable to the majority of citizens who are paying their wages or get rid of those who will not bend to the will of the people on these matters. Government has no place enforcing tyrannical measures on our freedoms of thought, speech or associations. Whist pretending equality. Removing the rights of one section of the population to enforce the whims of another section is infantile and reminiscent of Gulliver and his travels.

      These are the issues the UK should be addressing, Not playing the game of hide and seek, as it is presently. It will not confront the issues the British public are in distress over. And that is because they do not want the citizens of our country to want union in Europe. They have their horizons set elsewhere, but, are keeping under wraps as a surprise after they think they will be elected for a full next term.

      Ask this question, how many British people are having to apply, or, want to apply, to the European courts on Human Rights issues?

      However, many of those so called human rights are often oppressive to the majority of the people who are not willing to bend to unreasonable expectations of their traditional family life.

      So, Europe and its leaders are not entirely innocent when it comes to asking for more cash to waste on matters not in the best interests of us all. If they want to be profligate, then, let them dig into their personal pockets and raise the funds through their friends and various charities to cover it. If they can find enough benefactors to achieve those goals. If they want to be do gooders it means putting your money where your mouth is. And profligacy outside of the 27 States, with money that belongs to us all as tax payers, does not fall in line with what the citizens vote for. So, if they continue with it, remove them from office.

      A rethink is needed, but, Dave Cameron is off the wall with his interests in what the US want him to dance to. He is in a situation where Jack pipes, whilst he dances. And Europe had better start keeping step with its main financiers if it wants to succeed as a truly powerful entity. And those financiers are not the Prime Minister of the UK but the average Joe in the street.

      Remember that.

  16. avatar
    Davey Brown

    Why should money be given to an organisation who does not know where it is even going? Billions lost to fraud although no doubt into Barrosos Swiss bank account. You do not give money to con men. UK is leaving and taking our money with us. You can have all your criminals back though, that’ll solve our prison overcrowding crisis!

  17. avatar
    Vicente Silva Tavares

    Why David Brown, your business men are not yet convinced? I suppose you have economic arguments to support your position.

  18. avatar
    Vicente Silva Tavares

    Turkey is always in the best position: it has an economic agreement with the EU, without the restrictions attached. It has its own currency so can use it to turn its economy more competitive, it can control its moovement of capital without restrictions, it can use its own custom duties to protect its economy, and so own. I wish my country would leave the EU and have the same position of Turkey. Would be much better for us right now.

  19. avatar
    Hasan Özdemir

    Yes, ? agree with Mr. Tavares only for now. But the crisis will pass anyway and life will go on. You should look at future, not right now. We want EU for future, even if our member does not realise soon. Because Europe is future, if Germany does not dominate all of EU.

  20. avatar
    Hasan Özdemir

    Meanwhile Turkey have to pay for serious costs to go on the custom union with EU, without a member and paying for yet. Besides the export of Turkey to Europe have been reduced approximately in over fifty percent rates due to the crisis. Therefore We wish far too what to overcome of the crisis of EU, even we don’t want to enter in Eurozone like UK.

  21. avatar
    Hasan Özdemir

    To Debating Europe : Why can i not see some notes which sent by Mr. two Davids and Mr. Tavares in here, while i can see them on other your page ? And Why can i not see some myself comments in other page, i can see them in here ?

  22. avatar
    Hasan Özdemir

    Hey ! Debating Europe : ? did not take an answer for question yet. Do you go on that debating in two pages ?

  23. avatar
    Debating Europe

    Hi Hasan – we’re only answering now because you posed your question on a Sunday afternoon, and nobody was in the office! :-) Our main Debating Europe page aggregates comments from Facebook and Twitter into one place, but there is a delay of a couple of hours – this might be why you aren’t seeing all the comments. We also moderate our main page more strictly than our social media sites, particularly for bad language.

  24. avatar
    Larry Levenson

    I find it interesting that many of the EU’s current leaders are ex-communist party members who now call themselves members of the European Peoples Party. Their past communist party memberships are clearly visible in their decision making processes and their attitudes to professional money management by not insisting that the EU’s acounts are validated, verified and signed-off. It’s the electorate’s money they are wasting by not removing all fraudulent practices.
    In addition, they resort to dictating to member states if they do not get the right results following a fair voting procedure, as in the case of Ireland, by insisting on re-runs until they do.
    Also, they are always too ready to use threats to get their own way. They recently said that the UK will be left behind if it leaves the EU, which may be the case, but at least the UK will be solvent, independent, and in charge of it’s own destiny and not subject to jumped-up, unelected, inaffectual, posing, so-called ‘leaders’.
    Nigel Farage has been right all along to ask, ‘Who do they think they are’?

  25. avatar
    Maro Kouris

    Peter Wright, former MI5 officer and Assistant Director, is the person who made public the news of the British involvement and support of the division of Cyprus, by Turkish military forces in 1974 with the tacit approval of the British, to provide a security advantage against the American backed Greek Cypriots. The Americans wanted to replicate in Cyprus , the military success they had against expelling the British military from Greece with the Vardarski mercenary’s. But this time the British military had learned from their mistakes against the US mercenary forces in Greece and applied the measures they deemed necessary and appropriate to stay in Cyprus, and that was a full Turkish invasion and occupation of Cyprus in 1974.

  26. avatar
    Jane Hunt

    Britain joined the EEC, as I learnt a few weeks ago we never actually joined the EU. The British people voted for the EEC but we never voted for the EU or a united Europe. I do not think that is anything anybody in Britain wanted. When we voted for the EEC, we voted for something similar to NAFTA in the US. We voted for trade links, fewer taxes on exports and freedom of movement for residents of the EEC. We did not vote for a United Europe. If we have a referendum we should be asked whether we want to be a member of the EEC (which is what we voted for and what the Treaty of Rome was based on) or a member of the EU. It would be easy for us to leave the EU and come to a lose agreement with the EU to return to what we signed up for.

    • avatar
      catherine benning

      @Jane Hunt:

      This may give you a broader view. The UK had umpteen opportunities not to sign further treaties with Europe throughout the years since joining under Heath. A conservative. The UK leaders all added their agreement to further union and change. And did so because they were smart enough to know it was in their interests.

      Our UK government sells the people of Britain a line that is barely close to reality. Find out for yourself and don’t trust the carping of the House of Lords sponsor, Nigel Farage. He is bought by the wealthy, unelected second chamber in our Parliament, Lord Rannoch. Unelected and hereditary Lords in the UK fear a union that may remove the power to cheat the working class as has for the history of GB. They see the EU as the champion of the proletariat.,_Baron_Pearson_of_Rannoch

      Lord Rannoch is the co founder of a pro free trade think tank called Global Britain. So, strangely, as he is a strong believer in Corporate Globalisation – he tells us he is anti European unity. ROTFWL.

      This same unelected and therefore undemocratic Lord is also pro fox hunting and deerstalking as his connections to, Countryside Alliance and union with deerstalkers, reveal. Does this make you believe a man who is associated with non democratic alliances within the peerage, who despise what they call plebs, that’s the ordinary man in the street, is working in your best interests? He and his friends fund Nigel Farage because he sounds so working class. Add to that his very close ties with US Corporations and, voila, you sum him up.

      Read all about it.

      And what came next.

  27. avatar
    Wambura Mwita

    NO,This can be aburden to britain because of poor economy of some members like turkey,this led to economic dependence.

  28. avatar
    Hasan Özdemir

    Turkey is sixteenth big economy of the World and it is not a poor economy at all. Turkey has investment abilility with BB rating as economical. Besides Turkey does not affect EU budget how whether is it reject by UK or is the budget accept ? This comment is odd.

  29. avatar
    Hasan Özdemir

    Besides Turkey is not a member of EU yet too. Turkey is only a candidate for EU but between of them has a custom union and Turkey is a loser from the custom union for years.

  30. avatar
    Hasan Özdemir

    Mr. Tavares ? insist ? was right.You should look for other parameters, not only the foreign trade deficit. Moreover you should look for before the union of customs too. Turkey can not sign any trade agreement other States, if EU does not sign as a attendance the agreement. For the trade is necessary flexiblility. You can not sell googs, even the foreign trade without bargain. Besides Turkey is a intercessory Country for the export from China and Japan and especially South Korea to EU and in this export the rate of direct production of Turkey is very little.Meanwhile we want EU as cultural, if it does not become a Union of Cristianity or it does not dominate only by Germany.

  31. avatar
    Stipe Radman Livaja

    no wonder the poms havnt got the euro dollar cause there not stupid they keep their pound……cause they know euro dollara is falling falling…….by tens years the euro will be worthless

  32. avatar
    Jokera Jokerov

    He should, otherwise the House of Commons will tear him apart and will probably block the payments to the EU. The British people in their own rights!

  33. avatar
    Ian Ward

    Absolutely not! To retain credibility and influence for the UK he should learn how to work in partnership with others and sensibly discuss a suitable compromise.

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