Nick Clegg’s verdict on events in Europe

Here is Nick Clegg’s statement on the dramatic events overnight in Europe:

I regret that last night it proved to be impossible to find a way forward as a group of 27 on European treaty change.

I have said for months that it would be best to avoid arcane debates about treaty change altogether and if we had to proceed down that road, it would be best to do so in a way that did not create divisions in Europe.

The demands Britain made for safeguards, on which the Coalition Government was united, were modest and reasonable. They were safeguards for the single market, not just the UK.

There were no demands of repatriation of powers from the EU to Britain and no demands for a unilateral carve-out of UK financial services.

What we sought to ensure was to maintain a level playing field in financial services and the single market as a whole. This would have retained the UK’s ability to take tougher, not looser, regulatory action to sort out our banking system.

As a lifelong pro-European, I will continue to argue within Government and with our European partners that where changes now occur, it is essential that the integrity of our open European single market is kept intact and that we work together on the long term problems of competitiveness within the EU on which millions of people’s jobs depend.

UPDATE: See also Sarah Ludford’s comments that the British demands were “reasonable”.

UPDATE 2: I’ve now blogged a more detailed analysis of the post-summit fallout and Liberal Democrat reactions.

13 responses to “Nick Clegg’s verdict on events in Europe”

  1. Comforting words Nick, but meanwhile Britain has surrendered what little power it had left in the EU, seemingly to the unbridled joy of Tory eurosceptics and City traders.

  2. Sweden, Czech Republic and Hungary have now opted in. Where does that leave the UK? Interesting to see how far Cameron will go to save his own position and protect the City of London.

    • Stephen, the reason the LibDems are broadly positive about Europe is that we believe it is very much in Briain's national interest to be positive about Europe. Indeed pulling out would be the biggest surrender of sovereignty I can possibly imagine. Decisions taken by the EU would have a massive effect on us but we would have no say in those decisions. But our stance on Europe has never been and will never be blind – there are lots of things Europe does well, others very badly. We have to cooperate where it's right, stand firm where it isn't.

  3. Somehow Cameron seems to have managed the astonishing feat of failing to placate the Eurosceptics within his own party, while at the same time surrendering any influence in the EU that Britain still held. Glum times ahead.

  4. What worries me is that I've yet to hear a consistent and credible version of what happened last night. What exactly were the demands that Nick is saying were modest and reasonable? And what of the stories (which seem to have some credibility) that Cameron was indeed demanding some rolling back of QMV to unanimity in some areas? I genuinely haven't made my mind up because no-one seems to be telling the whole tale. Were our demands indeed reasonable to protect the City without pandering to their self-interest or did Cameron just make unreasonable demands?

  5. I prey that one day we will be liberated from this nightmare that robs us of £46m a day for which in return we get with nothing but red tape, dictats & mass immigration of people wanting jobs & homes we don't have.
    We don't have the space, jobs or housing for Millions of E.Europeans.

    EU = worst thing to happen to this country since WWII.
    Mr Clegg loves all this this though.
    But then his wife's doing nicely out of the EUrocracy to start with.

    The significance of Geographical location has been hugely exagerated by Europhiles. We can do business with the world. Buy from the cheapest & sell for the highest. What difference does it make how close the country is.

    In the face of the overwhelming arguments & facts that indicate we need to get out of the EU all Mr Clegg can do is cry 'xenophobe'. Well that's a very strong reason for us to endure the following. I mean we don't want to be called xenophobes do we:

    EU =

    1] Evermore over crowding.

    2] A troubled currency we are insnared with.

    3] Fish thrown back into the North sea even though they've died in the nets, once quotas are reached for a particular species.

    4] Language problems. Example, my mother in law is in a nursing home on the IOW staffed by East Europeans. She can hardly understand them & the can hardly understand her. Yet good communication is essential in giving good care.

    5] High levels of crime committed by nomads who can wander from one EU country to another now including the UK now our borders are freely open to 400 million people.

    6] Child Beggars, sex traffickers & pick pockets from Romania.

    7] More competition for insufficient homes & scarce jobs.

    8] More road congestion.

    9] 10% of our orchards bulldozed into the ground because the Eurocrats decided there's over production of apples in the Euro zone, regardless of whether we happen to like Brit apples!

    10] Huge cost of £30 an hour translators in courtrooms & classrooms disrupting the education of our kids.

    11] Fat cat 'job for life plus index linked pension' eurocrats who feast on our taxes but produce nothing but red tape in return.

    12] £46,000,000 a day we give to the EU & get nothing but dictats in return. It will be £41 billion over the next 5 years! Twice what it was for the last 5 years under the previous government. Money we desperately need for our schools & our hospitals etc.

    13] It's a myth we need to be in the EU to trade with Europe. The Swiss do very nicely trading with Europe whilst at the same time enjoying the freedoms of not being in the EU.Ironically EU red tape makes it harder to do business with the EU. Yet we voted originally only for a common market to supposedly make trade easier. What have we got instead…. we are heading towards a republic of Europe where we lose sovereignty.

    14] We've lost the right to make our own laws.

    15] The latest dictat from Brussels means companies like Tescos have to reduce the number of part time workers. Regardless of whether it's suits them & their employees such as mums wanting to only work part time.

    16] East Europeans claiming child benefits for children that aren't even in the UK.

    17] Our legal system hamstrung with human rights legislation issuing forth from UN ELECTED EU judges, with terrorist bombers having more human rights than their victims. Also in respect of repatriating criminals.

    18] The accountants refuse to sign off the EU accounts because of huge discrpancies & money that can't be accounted for.

    19] In Southampton we lost the Dimplex factory because they got a fat subsidy from Brussels to move to Ireland.
    Bournemouth lost the Johnson & Johnson factory too. It's all part of the Pol Pot EU philosophy that everywhere has to be equal. Namely it's not enough the Ireland should remain a green & pleasant farming land.
    No… instead Ireland has to have by dictat exactly the same number of factories per sq mile as everywhere else. Uniformity rules according to the Autocratic Euro crats. This must be going on nationwide.
    These are just two examples I happen to know of because they are local. God knows how many other jobs we've been robbed of by Brussels. So we pay a Euro subsidy of £46m per day, some of which goes to rob us of decent productive jobs here!
    To add to the farce, some of the trainees that came from Ireland to learn the ropes in the Johnson & Johnson factory before it moved to Ireland, didn't even turn up for half the training sessions because they'd been out on the booze every night. Then some of them decided they didn't even want to go back to Ireland. Laughable if it wasn't such a waste of our money! No businessman in their right mind would move for the sake of it using their own money. But when some little job for life bureaucrats in brussels who couldn't run a whelk stall, throw our money at this sort of thing. How can any rational person possible think the EU is a good thing.
    It's the same kind of insanity that happened under Stalin.We live in the EUSSR!

    From BBC Panorama 'Preparing for the Meltdown', It's clear we need to focus on the emerging markets of the BRIC countries of Brazil, Russia, India & China total population aprox 3 billion. That's where the future lies. Europhiles are far too preoccupied with Europe's market of a mere 400 million.Besides we can trade perfectly well with Europe without all the Brussels redtape. The EU is a confidence trick by those that profit from it by gaining power & influence or a nice cushy 'job for life' in Brussels.
    Cleggs wife is one of those.

    Vote UKIP

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