At an overnight summit in Brussels which was held with the aim of safeguarding the Eurozone, Prime Minister David Cameron vetoed a European Union treaty saying it was “not in Britain’s interests”.
Out of the twenty seven countries represented, the United Kingdom was the only one not to back the treaty, a decision which has not been popular with other world leaders.
Commenting on the decision, David Cameron said:
“I said before coming to Brussels that if I couldn’t get adequate safeguards for Britain in a new European treaty, then I wouldn’t agree to it. What is on offer isn’t in Britain’s interests, so I didn’t agree to it.”
“Let me explain why this matters. Of course, we want the eurozone countries to come together and to solve their problems. But we should only allow that to happen inside the European Union treaties if there are proper protections for the single market and for other key British interests.”
“Without those safeguards, it is better not to have a treaty within a treaty, but to have those countries make their arrangements separately. That is what is now going to happen. Britain’s interests in the European Union – keeping markets open, free trade, selling our goods and services with rules over which we have a major say – all those things are protected. They don’t change. But this new round of integration and special powers and surrenders of sovereignty for European countries and others that want to join the euro, they will be carried on outside the European Union treaty.”
The European debt crisis has been an issue since 2009 and has left countries like Greece and Portugal unable to refinance their debts. In 201o, a financial package was agreed with the aim of stabilising the European economy, and in October 2011 another package was approved to stop the eurozone economy from collapsing.
The Fiscal Compact Treaty has been drawn up and should be signed by March 2012. The European Stability Mechanism (ESM) Treaty is set to be finalised in the coming days and will be ratified in 2012, according to a statement from the European Council.