Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Brexit? London’s Euroskeptics Play Key Role in Fruitless EU Budget Talks

From Alpha Now:
Tough times bring the British Euroskeptics in force, and with Prime Minister David Cameron now in their corner, their opposition to the proposed EU budget has at least some pundits wondering about the possibility of a “Brexit”.

Europe is facing its own version of the fiscal cliff, with member countries having to agree on a revised 2013 European Union budget plan to avert the prospect of having EU contributions to member states doled out at this year’s levels and spread over 12 monthly installments next year, a plan that would wreak havoc with some EU spending programs.

The backdrop to this uncertainty is the growing disgruntlement on the part of the wealthier EU members at consistently contributing more than they receive in benefits. While Americans were consuming their Thanksgiving dinners last week, European politicians were meeting on the island of Cyprus to haggle out details of next year’s budget in a special summit meeting, one that ended in failure when those net contributor countries, led by Great Britain, balked at a proposal to roll back cuts in farm subsidies and regional aid funding. A month before the summit began, British Prime Minister David Cameron described himself publicly as a Euroskeptic, albeit “a practical, sensible reasonable one.”

The budget controversy has caused yet another resurgence of Euroskepticism in Britain, which joined the EU’s predecessor organization in 1973, after years of delay, although it has never joined the common currency, the euro. In good times, EU membership has been viewed with a degree of benign tolerance in parts of Britain, but when the economy becomes tougher, the ranks of die-hard Euroskeptics tend to swell significantly....MORE