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Der Standard, Austria

Britain Acts as America's 'Trojan Horse' in Europe


"Even Cameron's Labour Party predecessor, Tony Blair, wouldn't submit to 'those over on the continent.' This is less out of consideration for the City of London, and more due to 'Atlantic loyalty' to Washington. ... The way things stand now, to use an ancient metaphor, Great Britain is the Trojan horse for Anglo-Saxon financial interests in the heart of E.U.-Europe."


By Gerfried Sperl*



Translated By Ulf Benche


December 11, 2011


Austria - Der Standard - Original Article (German)

British Prime Minister David Cameron: His decision not to join with his E.U. partners in crafting a new agreement on the euro has created a fateful split.

BBC NEWS VIDEO: British Prime Minister David Cameron's decision to go it alone by rejecting new E.U. agreement, Dec. 9, 00:03:59RealVideo

What gets Britain most nervous politically is Franco-German dominance of Europe. That was the case in the era of Mitterand and Kohl, and it is the case again today. Angela Merkel and Nicolas Sarkozy have collected themselves and now govern the E.U. David Cameron is rarely involved. That alone is perceived as a scandal in London.


But the British premier who took part in the summit in Brussels is also suffering under enormous domestic constraints. He was unable to accept Franco-German proposals to amend the European Union Treaty (on "fiscal union"), because he would have to submit the change to the House of Commons as well as the British public - and he would lose both ballots.


Angela Merkel and Nicolas Sarkozy, in turn, could not allow an exception for the "London Financial Centre" because that would have meant foregoing any chance of getting the global financial sector under control. The British leader said it very clearly: "At the end of the day, for us, the heart of the E.U. is the common market." That is a "No" to political union.


This summit marks neither the end of the euro nor the end of the E.U. For the time being though, it signals the end of a process of integration that would have transformed the E.U. Commission into a European government with a president elected by parliament.


This is now in the realm of wishful thinking and political romanticism. But the reality is certainly not determined by the current economic drama alone.


When it comes to Brussels, even Cameron's Labour Party predecessor, Tony Blair, wouldn't submit to "those over on the continent." This is less out of consideration for the City of London, and more due to "Atlantic loyalty" to Washington. That loyalty has come under significant strain, since Barack Obama and David Cameron aren't exactly kindred spirits. But the election of a Republican to the White House in November 2012 would restore the Bush-Blair atmosphere.    



Senior columnist John Authers and editor Lionel Barber discuss how the

new treaty to enforce changes to the E.U.'s fiscal rules could be enforced

without Britain on board, whether it's enough for to appease markets,

and where Cameron's stand leaves Britian.




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Britain is a major player every important committee of the E.U. It isn't a nation one can simply "Throw Out" (headline from the Billigblattes Österreich), nor would "Merkozy" cause a medium-sized power to retreat from its "key market" (quote from David Cameron).


The greater danger is that of an implosion. Britain has not isolated itself. In fact, the government in London holds a few trump cards in its hand. Preserving the euro is not one of its priorities. Newspapers like the Economist or the Financial Times, which are both widely read in continental Europe, have been writing off the euro for years. If the British continue to seriously undermine the political force of the E.U. (the precondition of a strong euro), Brussels will slowly but surely end up a lame duck.


That will be an important role in the economic and financial war between the United States and Europe. The way things stand now, to use an ancient metaphor, Great Britain is the Trojan horse for Anglo-Saxon financial interests in the heart of E.U.-Europe.


Paris conceals its weaknesses through its alliance with Berlin. And one must doubt whether Germany is strong enough to defy the British.


*Gerfried Sperl is the former publisher and current editor in chief of Der Standard



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[Posted by WORLDMEETS.US Dec. 14, 9:20pm]


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