10 May 2016

When is a veto not a veto?

Does Iain Duncan Smith understand the EU processes?  The BBC reports:
Germany had a "de facto veto" over David Cameron's EU renegotiations, ex-minister Iain Duncan Smith has said.
He told the Sun the PM ditched plans in 2014 to demand an emergency brake on migration after Germany objected.
Ahead of a speech on the EU and welfare on Tuesday, Mr Duncan Smith has made his most outspoken attack to date on the PM's attempts to negotiate a better deal for the UK in the EU, which concluded in February, telling the newspaper they had "failed".
The former Conservative leader, who resigned from the cabinet last month in a dispute over disability benefit cuts, described the concessions gained as "very marginal" and suggested that, in return, the UK had lost its veto on future fiscal and political integration within the eurozone.
"The EU knew that our veto was very powerful and we have given it away," he told the newspaper.
It is indeed the case that Germany had a veto over the EU re-negotiations.  And so did every other Member State, right down to tiny Malta.  Which is why Cameron was always going to struggle in his efforts to secure a reasonable deal.  But that’s the way of the EU (except in matters of lesser import, where there is an arrangement for decision by qualified majority).

As for the UK losing its veto on future developments within the eurozone, I cannot see that anything has changed.  As it chose to opt out of the euro, the UK has only ever had a marginal influence on policy decisions made within the eurozone and then only to the extent that any such decisions had a significant impact on the UK itself.  Nothing in the re-negotiations changes this position.  On the other hand, if the UK were to leave the EU, than any remaining formal influence over the EU would be totally lost.

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