Merkel gets a roadmap to fiscal union. In return Cameron may get repatriation of parts of the Working Time Directive. Fair deal?
By Tim Montgomerie
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I don't think Tory Eurosceptics will think so.
Benedict Brogan blogs this alleged deal between Cameron and Merkel and describes it as "significant news" this morning:
"The significant piece of news this morning is that David Cameron has come to an arrangement with Angela Merkel – an understanding of sorts that gives him something to throw to his backbenchers. In exchange for going along with her demand for limited treaty change to cope with a crisis [in] Europe, she's willing to let him repatriate parts of the Working Time Directive."
Yes, it's something to throw at his backbenchers but it's more of a cheap chipolata than serious roast beef.
Remember, this isn't repatriation of the Working Time Directive but only "parts" of the Working Time Directive. It offers nothing on border control. Nothing on the cost of the EU. Nothing on financial regulation. Nothing on CAP or fisheries. It certainly doesn't match up to the promise of "fundamental reform" that David Cameron made to the House of Commons when he was trying unsuccessfully to stop the recent backbench rebellion (my emphasis):
"Fundamental questions are being asked about the future of the eurozone and, therefore, the shape of the EU itself. Opportunities to advance our national interest are clearly becoming apparent. We should focus on how to make the most of this, rather than pursuing a parliamentary process for a multiple-choice referendum. As yesterday's Council conclusions made clear, changes to the EU treaties need the agreement of all 27 member states. Every country can wield a veto until its needs are met. I share the yearning for fundamental reform and am determined to deliver it."
My hope is that the excitement is all from Benedict Brogan rather than Number 10. This reported deal does very, very little to address the European question.