The Renegotiation Roadshow Rolls On
Another day in the debate over Britain’s place in Europe, and David Cameron heads to Germany for a speech detailing the ins and outs of his renegotiation bid. The PM is expected to use an intervention in Hamburg to set out the case for renegotiation, as well as individual proposals within his package. Cameron is also to meet with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who has encouraged him to pursue diplomacy with other European leaders and advised him on the feasibility of various reforms along the way.
Yet as has so often been the case throughout the renegotiation, the internal politics of other European nations are throwing up obstacles. EU Council President Donald Tusk is preparing for meetings with leaders harbouring concerns about the proposed deal, including French President Francois Hollande. Meanwhile in Spain the far-left Podemos party is calling on the outgoing government to veto the UK-EU deal, with the other opposition parties in Madrid calling on Prime Minister Rajoy to seek a mandate from MPs before approving anything.
Given initial reaction to Cameron’s deal, further compromises are unlikely to be welcomed by either Conservative backbenchers or Britain’s tabloid press. And the PM faces a further headache today as Tory councillors warn his actions over the referendum could damage party unity. One bit of comfort for the Government has come from an unlikely source, with former Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls offering support to his old rival George Osborne over his stance on the referendum and accusing Boris Johnson of prioritising personal ambition by flirting with Brexit. As with the vote on Scottish independence, politics can sometimes make for strange bedfellows.