Monday, 1 December 2014

Cameron, Article 48 And Donald Tusk

Little noticed or mentioned by the UK media but yesterday was the last day of the outgoing President of the European Council Herman van Rompuy. It's interesting that a quick Google news search shows mainly non-UK media outlets at the top of the list reporting the news. Clearly with no obvious "UK flag" to put on the story it gets tucked away unnoticed in the UK.

The lack of coverage provides a stark contrast to 5 years ago when van Rompuy was first chosen for the job. Then we had much salivation by the UK media over whether Tony Blair would be chosen for the job. A prospect that was always a non-starter.

So today we have a new President, and Van Rompuy's replacement is Poland's Donald Tusk:
Poland's Donald Tusk takes over as European Council president Monday, the first person from the former Soviet-dominated east to take a top Brussels role, with a mandate to revive the economy and deal with a resurgent Russia
Tusk will be a different proposition, with his roots in Poland's anti-communist Solidarity trade union, at a time when the European Union faces a mounting challenge from Russia over Ukraine.
However why this matters to the UK, and more specifically to Cameron, is Tusk is Polish and he has previous with Cameron over immigration:
The Polish prime minister has lashed out at David Cameron’s calls to scrap the overseas payments of child benefit for the children of UK-based immigrants, calling them “unwarranted and unacceptable”.

Speaking at a press conference, Donald Tusk, the leader of Poland’s centre-right government, vented Polish anger over the Prime Minister’s proposals made in a speech on Sunday that singled out Poles, and promised Poland would veto the changes to EU treaties the proposed adjustments to child benefit laws would require.
As we noted in our previous piece for Cameron to achieve treaty changes via Article 48 he has to have the approval of the other 27 member states at a European Council and here we can expect likely objections to Cameron's proposal to limit immigration to come from countries such as Poland.

But first Cameron's proposals have to be put on the European Council agenda for it to be put to the vote. And the agenda is set by the President. And the President is now Polish.

Cameron's attempt at using Article 48 to remove himself from a hook has just become far more difficult.


  1. I was thinking about this the other day, I am not sure that the polish would actually go against his art 48 fudge. The reason being it would push the UK further towards EFTA/EEA if Cameron's "Negotiations" fail. EFTA/EEA would allow us to go much further, the question is would the polish risk it?

    1. The Polish will eventually cave in after much pantomime anger and fuss on both sides for domestic consumption eager to suggest they're being tough. Poland did a similar thing regarding the Lisbon Treaty.

      Ultimately though none of the member states will give Cameron anything substantial. Instead a few bones will be tossed Cameron's way but not much else.

      He will then dress it up as "declarations" which really don't mean a great deal and attempt a "Wilson".

      The advantage we have though is we have a sniff of his strategy over two years before he can "deliver". This allows us time to prepare and nullify his "piece of paper" strategy by managing expectations long beforehand.

    2. I agree that is the most likely outcome of the Article 48 fudge, though the best way to kill it off is to steer the debate back to its rightful heading. That is why we would be better off leaving the EU and going for EFTA/EEA.
      we really dont need UKIP stealing the ships helm and moving for an all out titanic moment on immigration.

  2. Re Cameron and the hole into which he has dug himself coupled with his earlier disagreement with the new Pres of the EU Council, I suppose all one can say to my MP is (Donald) Tsk, Tsk..........?

    1. Groan :-) Is it worth another meeting with Cameron on article 48?

  3. Rumpy-Pumpy tended to be ignored but this one could create some good bust-ups.