Cameron’s non-veto of a non-existent treaty

The press have devoted much coverage to Cameron’s apparent veto of changes to EU treaties. The only problem is, you can’t veto a treaty that doesn’t exist. Cameron effectively admitted as such in the House.

As Richard North explains,

The Boy answers,

As I said in my statement, the eurozone members wanted to create a new treaty within the EU, which has all sorts of dangers. If the right hon. Gentleman looks at the letter that Angela Merkel and Nicolas Sarkozy sent, he will see that they specifically wanted the 17 to look at issues such as financial services and the market within that treaty. Without safeguards, a treaty within a treaty would have been far more dangerous than a treaty outside the EU.

Up against the wall – and given free opportunity to set the record straight – all Cameron can assert is that “eurozone members wanted to create a new treaty within the EU”. He adds: “They specifically wanted the 17 to look at issues such as financial services and the market within that treaty”.

This was a treaty to come – not one that was in existence that he could sign up to, much less veto. In column 534, we get further prevarication. “There would be a threat if there were a treaty of the 17 in the EU without the proper safeguards”, he says. “That is why I vetoed that approach”.

Note the precise phrasing: “if there were a treaty of the 17 in the EU”, he says, then adding that he vetoed not a treaty but an “approach”.

One is not surprised at politicians being loose with the truth – it’s just a shame so much of the media are happy to go along with the lie rather than expose it.

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4 Responses to Cameron’s non-veto of a non-existent treaty

  1. Pingback: EU tensions between UK and France rise as Cameron agitates treaty deal Nicolas Sarkozy reportedly calls British prime minister ‘an obstinate kid’ over EU summit veto |

  2. I think this is taking things a little bit too precisely and missing how EU negotiations.

    Yes a veto was not used as there was no treaty but the intention to veto was stated. It takes a lot of effort to draft legislation: the eventual legislation from this should be published this week (2 weeks later) and will only go before parliament in March. Your point & North’s is technically right but misses the fact that stating they will veto, the Brits just stopped the need to draft legislation for it only to be defeated.

    • andyfrith2 says:

      It’s still dishonest of Cameron and the media to discuss vetoing a treaty, as that isn’t what happened. Both love soundbites and short, snappy headlines are preferred, but the truth would be nice occasionally. Since the final version of the treaty is some time off, this “veto” doesn’t prevent the EU and various heads of states from going ahead. Legislation can still be passed without depending on Cameron’s (or any other head of state’s) consent.

  3. Um … yes and no. There will be no treaty – the proposed veto saw the end of that.

    Rather there will be secondary level legislation. Tad tricky to explain succinctly (though the wikipedia pages are not too bad on this) but no treaty reduces the level of compliance needed by each country and the use of the EU’s institutions to insist on adherance. Government Parliaments can delay but not stop this legislation; indeed, on some issues they do not have to be consulted (unlike a treaty which has to always be approved by parliaments).

    So the proposed veto has stopped a treaty, changed the nature of legislation and its process to becoming law.

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