German chancellor Angela Merkel, EU president Jean-Claude Juncker, and French President Francois Hollande will not be pleased to learn UK Chancellor Seeks Two-Tier Europe Enshrined in Law.
George Osborne, Britain’s chancellor of the exchequer, will on Tuesday set out for the first time the UK’s demands for EU treaty change to protect its economy, taxpayers and the City of London in a two-speed Europe.
After months of diplomatic shadow boxing, Mr Osborne will use a speech in Berlin to set out in detail how Britain wants a new EU settlement to enshrine the rights of non-eurozone countries in the 28-member club.
“Quite frankly, the British people do not want to be part of an ever closer union,” the chancellor will tell a business audience. “I believe it is this that is the cause of some of the strains between Britain and our European partners.”
Mr Osborne will call for “principles embedded in EU law and binding on EU institutions” to govern a two-tier Europe, with an integrated eurozone surrounded by a looser group of countries using their own currencies.
Mr Osborne will say that the new rules must enshrine the “integrity of the European single market” and ensure that it is not distorted by eurozone countries rigging the rules in their favour.
The treaty changes would include “the recognition that the EU has more than one currency and we should not discriminate against any business on the basis of the currency [area] in which they reside”.
That clause is specifically aimed at protecting British financial groups from protectionist measures by the eurozone, and to ensure that London will retain its position as the principal centre for European finance.
Mr Osborne will add: “We must never let taxpayers in countries that are not in the euro bear the cost for supporting countries in the eurozone.”
The UK wants to keep the British Pound, not bear any Euro country bailout costs, protect London from financial transaction taxes, and enshrine in law measures to protect non-euro countries, effectively creating a two-tier Europe.
If Merkel and Hollande will not go along, would prime minister David Cameron then urge UK citizens to vote in favor of the UK leaving the EU?
Mike “Mish” Shedlock