Cameron's EU strategy 'wishful thinking'

2014-05-09 13:45
(Picture: AFP)

(Picture: AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

kalahari.com

London - Prime Minister David Cameron's plans to renegotiate Britain's ties with the European Union are wishful thinking and likely to yield only minor concessions that will not unite his governing Conservative party, his coalition partner will warn on Friday.

In a speech at Thomson Reuters in London, Nick Clegg, Britain's deputy prime minister, will launch one of his strongest critiques of Cameron's Europe policy so far as he unveils his own ideas for reform and sets out the case for Britain to remain inside the 28-nation bloc.

"The Conservative leadership has spent the last three years ducking and weaving, looking for a way out," Clegg will say, according to advance extracts from his speech.

"David Cameron started with grand plans for the repatriation of powers, then he shifted ground. None of this has anything to do with the real issues - the need for a more competitive EU - it's all about managing internal Conservative party divisions."

Tensions

The robust nature of Clegg's criticism is likely to cause tensions within Britain's two-party coalition government ahead of European elections this month. Clegg's party, the Liberal Democrats, are the junior partner to the Conservatives, and polls suggest they could come fourth in the vote.

The UK Independence Party (UKIP), which campaigns for Britain to leave the EU, is likely to poll ahead of both parties, fighting it out for first place with the opposition Labour party.

Cameron has promised to try to renegotiate Britain's EU ties and to claw back a range of powers if re-elected next year and to then give Britons a referendum on whether to remain inside the EU in 2017.

Clegg, whose party has styled itself as Britain's most pro-EU force, will say the strategy is doomed.

Threat

"You cannot secure a new settlement for Britain through a one-off negotiation conducted under the threat of exit," Clegg, 47, will say at a Reuters Newsmaker event at its London headquarters in Canary Wharf on Friday.

"He'll be able to agree various minor opt outs and exemptions for Britain with other European leaders. But we wouldn't let the French or Germans pick and choose the bits of the Single Market they like, so the idea that they would do the same for us is wishful thinking."

Cameron has so far garnered only limited backing for his plans among other EU states and German Chancellor Angela Merkel has ruled out the prospect of a far-reaching overhaul of the bloc's treaties.

The opposition Labour party opposes Cameron's idea of a referendum, saying it creates uncertainty and discourages foreign investment in Britain.

Clegg, a Cambridge-educated former member of the European Parliament who speaks five languages, will urge Cameron to change tack, suggesting the only way to achieve reform is at the negotiating table.

"You fight Britain's corner effectively not by going on a whistlestop tour of Europe's capitals, a list of make-or-break demands in hand," Clegg will say.

Push for changes

"You do it by engaging with our neighbours, forging alliances with like-minded states and winning the argument."

Clegg, whose party, some pollsters have predicted, could lose all its member of the European Parliament, will argue that Cameron's attempts to appease his own backbench lawmakers who want to leave the EU has trapped the prime minister.

"David Cameron has set himself on a collision course with his backbenchers because, no matter what repatriation package he negotiates, it will never be enough to satisfy them," Clegg will say.

Clegg, who has good relations with the 47-year-old prime minister with whom he has shared power since 2010, said Cameron had sought to tone down his demands to propose changes that would not require difficult-to-get EU treaty change.

Unveiling his own 10-point plan to reform the EU, Clegg said the Liberal Democrats would push for changes to the EU budget, cuts to red tape, less waste and for more devolved powers for national parliaments.

"Europe should do more of what it's good at, less of what it isn't," Clegg will say.

Read more on:    david cameron  |  nick clegg  |  uk
NEXT ON NEWS24X

SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
1 comment
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/Fashion
 
Traffic
Lottery
 
  • Friday Cape Town - 16:15 PM
    Road name: Wet Weather
    RAIN across the greater Cape Town area - drive with care and use headlights - Allow Extra Tavel Time
  • Friday Kuils River - 09:28 AM
    Road name: Polkadraai Road Eastbound
    ROADWORKS between the R102 Van Riebeeck Road and the R310 Baden Powell Drive exit - DELAYS
 
More traffic reports...
 

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

HOUSES FOR SALE IN Paarl

Houses R 4 750 000

HOUSES FOR SALE IN Durbanville

Houses R 2 195 000

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

2 TV Series for R250

Get 2 TV Series box sets for R250 and save up to R148! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Mind blowing deals on beauty & fragrances

Save up to 30% off beauty and fragrances. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 50% off hair care products!

Save up to 50% on professional hair care products at kalahari.com. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

30% off academic books

Score a mind blowing 30% off academic books! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Mind blowing deals on electronics!

Save up to 35% on electronics. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Nokia E6

Nokia E6 has 8-megapixel digital camera with autofocus and built...

From R2599.69

I'm shopping for:

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

The day may have a fluctuating sensitive energy to begin with, but later when the Moon moves into dramatic and creative Leo you...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.