Legal hurdles in blocking EU debate on fiscal union: Cameron
AFP LONDON BRITISH Prime Minister David Cameron admitted on Friday there are “legal difficulties” with his vow to block European nations from using EU institutions to discuss a pact aimed at saving the euro.
At a summit in Brussels last month Britain, which does not use the euro, was the only member of the 27-state European Union to refuse to join the agreement to deepen fiscal integration in the bloc.
Cameron said at the time that Britain was considering blocking its EU partners from using the union’s buildings and institutions to take the pact forward.But when asked on BBC radio if he still planned to do that he appeared to back down, saying: “There are legal difficulties over this.” Pressed about whether Britain would use the European Court of Justice to block the rest of the EU using the institutions or, for example, using the European Commission to provide data, he said: “Well, they (other EU nations) do that now.”Britain would do “everything possible” to ensure that the single market and competitiveness were not discussed outside the full EU framework, but he stopped short of saying it would also block discussion of fiscal union by the other 26 states.
“What we can’t have is the single market being discussed outside the European Union and we’ll do everything possible to ensure that doesn’t happen,” he said.
The “fiscal compact” committing governments to tough budgetary rules will be discussed by EU leaders at a special summit on January 30 with the aim of adopting it at another meeting in March.
The stance taken by Conservative leader Cameron has raised tensions with Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, the leader of the Liberal Democrats, who are the junior partners in his coalition government.
Clegg has previously said that Britain risks becoming a “pygmy” on the international stage by staying out of the pact.
Cameron said: “The Iron Lady” should have been delayed until after Margaret Thatcher’s death, as the film showing the former premier’s descent into dementia opened in Britain.
The biopic shows Thatcher as a frail, sometimes confused old lady — she is now 86 and is rarely seen in public — looking back at her career with the ghost of her late husband Denis looking on.
Cameron, in his first comment on the film, said he had been impressed by Meryl Streep’s portrayal of Britain’s first woman prime minister, who like him was a leader of the centre-right Conservative party.But Cameron questioned whether it was right to make the film while Thatcher was still alive.
“It’s a fantastic piece of acting by Meryl Streep but I just can’t help wondering why do we have to have this film right now?” he told BBC radio.
“It is a film much more about ageing and elements of dementia rather than about an amazing prime minister, and my sort of sense was — a great piece of acting, a really staggering piece of acting, but a film I wish they could have made another day.” Streep has said she relished the “opportunity to play someone at the waning of her life..
and that interested me too because there aren’t very many films that pay attention to older ladies.” The American actress, who is tipped to win the third Oscar of her career for her performance, was due to speak to media in Paris later Friday to promote the film, in which she is reunited with “Mamma Mia” director Phyllida Lloyd.
Critics in Britain have praised Streep’s acting, but have generally given the film a cooler reception, complaining that it skims over the tumultuous politics of the time and focuses too much on Thatcher’s personality.
Others have said the film dilutes Thatcher’s power as a politician by attempting to portray her as a feminine icon — when in fact she rarely included any women in her cabinet, and preferred the company of men.