As we head into the final stages of the Brexit debate, it would be wise to revisit prime minister David Cameron’s pledges with UK citizens regarding EU rules and what he actually delivered .
David Cameron February 18, 2016: “I will be battling for Britain. If we can get a good deal I will take that deal but I will not take a deal that does not meet what we need.”
Now let’s consider the Telegraph article EU deal: What David Cameron Asked For… and What He Actually Got
What follows are comments from Telegraph writer Peter Foster interspersed with my own thoughts.
Cameron’s Pledge on Tax Credits, Benefits, Brake: “We will insist that EU migrants who want to claim tax credits and child benefit must live here and contribute to our country for a minimum of four years.” – Conservative Party Manifesto 2015
What Cameron Delivered: A mechanism to “limit the access of union workers newly entering its labour market to in-work benefits for a total period of up to four years from the commencement of employment” if the UK, or any other member state, can show that EU migrants are “putting an excessive pressure on the proper functioning of its public services”.
No details are provided on what “excessive pressure” means. Control of the brake is firmly in the hands of the Commission. Moreover, though deal only fully denies in-work benefits for one year, not four and the benefits changes may leave the UK vulnerable to a challenge in the European Courts.
Mish Score: F.
The four-year brake will be available to Britain for “a period of 7 years”. After that, there is no brake, and there is no negotiation. In 7 years the UK will be bound by EU rules no matter how stupid they are. Between now and seven years from now European Commission is in control of the Brake.
Telegraph writer Peter Foster called this “Cameron’s trophy achievement”. I call it a joke.
Cameron’s Pledge on Bailouts: A mechanism to ensure that “Britain can’t be discriminated against because it’s not part of the euro, can’t pick up the bill for eurozone bail-outs, crucially can’t have imposed on it changes the eurozone want to make without our consent.” – George Osborne, the Chancellor, to BBC Newsnight January 14 2016
What Cameron Delivered: A pledge that the UK will not be on the hook for future bail-outs of eurozone states – specifically, crisis measures to shore up the euro area “will not entail budgetary responsibility for member states whose currency is not the euro”. The is also a promise of “reimbursement” if a eurozone state rescue-measure calls on general EU funds. (p4 of draft agreement)
A statement noting that any member state, including the UK, can demand that any issue pertaining to the eurozone may be discussed in the European Council, which means all 28 member states. However the clause notes that such a request cannot “amount to allowing one or more member states to veto the effective management of the banking union or the future integration of the euro area” which begs the question over how ‘safe’ Mr Osborne’s safeguard really makes non-eurozone states.
Mish Score: F
All Cameron got was a pledge. There were no treaty changes and the UK explicitly does not get a veto.
It is laughable to point to the right to discuss matters with the European Council anything but a slap in the face to Cameron. Yet that is what Cameron accepted.
Foster says this a win for Cameron on the basis of a promise to incorporate changes into the treaty when it is next opened.
Well what if they aren’t? Anyone who would accept a verbal pledge like that, when every EU member country has to ratify treaty changes is a complete fool.
Cameron’s Pledge: Working Time Directive – EU regulations
What Cameron Delivered: “Nothing:. That is exactly the word Foster used.
Mish Score: F
Cameron’s Pledge to Reduce EU Waste: Reduce EU Waste and cut red tape
What Cameron Delivered: A pledge by the European Commission to continue its current work cutting red tape.
Mish Score: F
Cameron’s Pledge on Working Time Directive: Working Time Directive – EU regulations “If an EU migrant’s child is living abroad, then they should receive no child benefit, no matter how long they have worked in the UK and no matter how much tax they have paid.” – Conservative Party Manifesto 2015
What Cameron Delivered: “This was one of the hardest-fought parts of the negotiation is where Mr Cameron appears to have given the most ground in order to win his headline “seven years” deal on his so-called “benefits brake. The text now says that indexation of child benefit should “only apply to new claims” when UK negotiators had wanted all EU migrant children receiving child benefit in their home countries to go onto the new rates immediately.
Instead, there will now be a four-year transition period with the new, lower rates not kicking in until January 1 2020. While Downing Street will claim this as a victory, critics will point out this is a very long way from the manifesto pledge.”
Mish Score: D-
Instead of totally caving in, Cameron got something that pertains to new claims, But it comes at the expense of “win” on seven year deal that everyone will regret in year eight.
Cameron’s Pledge on Red Card for Unwanted Rules: Red card for national parliaments. “We want national parliaments to be able to work together to block unwanted European legislation.” – Conservative Party Manifesto 2015
What Cameron Delivered: “An agreement that if, proportionately speaking, 55 per cent of national EU parliaments object to a piece of EU legislation “within 12 weeks” the Council Presidency will hold a “comprehensive discussion” on the objections raised and “discontinue the consideration of the draft legislative… unless the draft is amended to accommodate the concerns expressed in the reasoned opinions”
Mish Score: C
Foster labeled this a “win”. Realistically speaking, however, legislation that meets the disapproval of 55% of EU national parliaments is not likely to pass in the first place.
Cameron’s Pledge on Ever Closer Union: “We want an end to our commitment to an ‘ever closer union’, as enshrined in the treaty to which every EU country has to sign up.” – Conservative Party Manifesto 2015
What Cameron Delivered: A re-statement of a EU heads of government decision from 2014 that has already clarified that the phrase “ever closer union” does “not compel all member states to aim for a common destination”. The Tusk text says (p10) specifically: “It is recognised that the United Kingdom, in the light of the specific situation it has under the treaties, is not committed to further political integration into the European Union.” It also promises to incorporate this in the EU treaties next time they are opened.
Mish Score: D
I reluctantly give this a D. All we have is a pledge. Yet, there is nothing that can force the UK to adopt the Euro. However, the UK will be forced to integrate further into EU rules an regulations.
Cameron’s Pledge on Multi-Currency Union: “That the EU should formally recognise that it is a ‘multi-currency union’and that all members must not inevitably join the euro.”
What Cameron Delivered: An apparent recognition, in writing, that while the union’s objective is to establish “an economic and monetary union whose currency is the euro” it is also stated that “not all member states have the euro as their currency”.
Mish Score: D
Nothing can force the UK to join the Eurozone, but pressure will be immense.
- Cameron’s Pledge on Tax Credits, Benefits, Brake: F
- Cameron’s Pledge on Bailouts: F
- Cameron’s Pledge on Working Time Directive and EU regulations: F
- Cameron’s Pledge on Red Card for Unwanted Rules: C
- Cameron’s Pledge on Ever Closer Union: D
- Cameron’s Pledge on Multi-Currency Union: D
Final Weighted Grade: F
If Cameron promised to get a good deal. He didn’t.
He promised he would not take a deal that did not meet UK needs. He lied.
Some of the “campaign fear” lies are so ridiculous they are actually funny. Here’s an example:
Mike “Mish” Shedlock