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Sunday, 13 January 2013

Is David Cameron a party pooper on Angela Merkel and François Hollande’s 50th anniversary of the Elysée treaty?!

It's my party, and I'll cry if I want to
Cry if I want to, cry if I want to
You would cry too if it happened to you

A German fairytale…

Angela Merkel is agitatedly pacing up and down her room in the Bundeskanzlerei, the official office of the Chancellor in Berlin, Germany. She is mad, very mad. The cause for her angriness: David Cameron.

“What the hell was this moron thinking, when he planned his anti-EU speech at the same day as the 50th anniversary of the Elysée treaty”.

The German primadonna felt like Lesley Gore in her most famous hit from the 60’s, just at the moment when she saw her Johnny walk through the door with his new fiancee, who was wearing his ring.

“It’s my party” sobs Merkel “… and I cry if I want to… 

Just when everything in Europe seems to be a bit calmer and everybody acknowledged that Draghi and I did a helluva job in saving the Euro, then this clown comes along and spoils my party. Oooh, how could he do this?!

Right when we thought that we had that Dutch jerk Mark Rutte out of the way, by appointing his Finance Minister – uhm, what was this guy’s name again?! –  Dieselblum, or whatever… as head of the Eurogroup. It’s not fair.

François will be mad too when he hears about this. I will give him a call… Oh, no wait. I will call David myself and I will tell him the truth about this ridiculous plan. I will threaten to kick him out of the EU personally. Then he doesn’t need to hold this bloody speech anymore and he can shove this referendum too. SECRETARY!! Call 10 Downing Street for me. NOW!!”

Of course, this small monologue of Angela Merkel is just a figment of my imagination. This did, of course, never happen… probably.

On the other hand, I’m certain that Angela Merkel is not amused at all about Cameron’s intended critical speech about the EU and especially about the timing of it. Also French president Hollande won’t see the humour in this British action.

On 22 January of this year, it is the 50th anniversary of the Elysée treaty between the legendary German chancellor Konrad Adenauer and the great French general / président Charles de Gaulle. This treaty can be seen as a landmark.

It marked the official end to all hostilities and animosity between the old adversaries Germany and France and the beginning of a long and very fruitful period of friendship between these countries: within the predecessors of the EU (respectively the European Coal and Steel Community and the European Economic Community), but also with the special European axis Paris – Bonn initially, followed up by Paris – Berlin.

Various German Bundeskanzlers, like Willy Brandt, Helmut Schmidt and Helmut Kohl became friends with French presidents like Georges Pompidou, Valéry Giscard d’Estaing, and François Mitterand. Not based on unity of thinking – the French and German political and economic doctrines have always been quite different – but based on a mutual interest as the two leading economies within Europe.

That David Cameron is planning his critical speech on the EU exactly on January, 22 and that he might hold it either in Germany, in Belgium (unofficial capital of Europe and host to most EU institutions) or in The Netherlands where his euro-sceptic buddy Mark Rutte lives, is in my opinion more than just bad taste.

At this time David Cameron is definitely not a Berliner, unlike the famous American president…

The Financial Times writes the following article about these events:

David Cameron has astonished Berlin by looking to make his controversial Europe speech on the same day that France and Germany stage lavish celebrations marking their postwar reconciliation.

To add to the diplomatic drama, Mr Cameron is considering making his speech in Germany on the day hundreds of French and German politicians gather in Berlin to mark the 50th anniversary of the Elysée treaty.

The office of Chancellor Angela Merkel is understood to be in direct contact with Downing Street about the preferred date. One senior German official said the timing was “quite extraordinary”.

“It is insane,” said Ulrike Guérot at the European Council on Foreign Relations. “Mr Cameron should have some decent respect. It is a sulky reaction, and an attempt to steal the headlines.”

“Choosing the 50th anniversary of the most important treaty between France and Germany to make a big anti-EU speech is a grotesque perversion,” added Denis MacShane, a former Labour Europe minister. “It’s like a religious day for them.”
Mr Cameron is expected to decide this weekend precisely when and where he will set out his vision of a looser British relationship with the EU, which he would then put to a referendum.

Downing St favours January 22 because it falls between US President Barack Obama’s inauguration on January 21 and the Davos World Economic Forum starting on January 23.

British officials insist the provisional date “is not intended” to be provocative. They argue that Mr Cameron will make the case for Britain staying in the EU – albeit on new terms – and will stress the project’s contribution to postwar peace.

I believe the British officials when they insist that the date is not intended to be provocative. These officials are just a bunch of jerks that don’t know anything about history and about the feelings of the French and Germans. That’s why they picked this date, because it fitted so well between Obama’s inaugurational speech and Davos.

By the way, I saw ELVIS lately!! In the 7-11!!! Yeah, really!!!

What is a deeper concern for me is what Tory PM David Cameron wants to say in his speech?!

His political situation at home is very dire. A large part of the British citizens and a large part of his Tory party hate the EU’s guts and would rather step out of the EU yesterday than today. Nick Clegg’s Liberal Party, and a substantial part of Labour is not so rabiately anti-EU and prefers staying in it. This is an obvious cause for conflict within the British Tory-Liberal coalition, although both parties cannot use a cabinet crisis at this moment.

On top of that, there is probably not much leeway for Cameron within the European Commission and at the government leaders of the European countries to claim a special position for the British in the Union: a position that does maintain the benefits from the EU, but without its obvious drawbacks for the British.

The UK already enjoyed a number of special agreements since the 80’s and Cameron’s position within the EU did not become stronger, since he decided to boycot a new treaty for the EU and the Euro-zone in December, 2011

Cameron's condemnation of this new EU treaty in 2011 forced the other EU-states to create a special legal construct, in order to maintain the European budget rules (i.e. the refurbished Stability and Growth Pact) more strictly within the EU and the Eurozone.

These preceding circumstances make David Cameron’s speech very precarious, especially as a possible British referendum on the EU membership is like a giant elephant in the room: very much there, but supposedly not seen by anybody present.

If Cameron’s speech is too much anti-EU, then he passes a point-of-no-return that hardly leaves him any other option then heading for the door of the EU. In this case, not only the EU, but also the US will be angry with the UK, thus further isolating the island.

However, when his speech is not sufficiently aggressive and critical towards the EU, he will not only lose the confidence of a large part of the British population, but also within his own Tory party and grassroots he might become a ‘persona non grata’.

If I was David Cameron, I would start to suffer from a political pneumonia that keeps me in bed until the 23rd of January, hoping that everybody forgets about this doomed speech.

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