Britain's Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron, meanwhile, is doing his part to bring Britain closer to leaving the EU altogether. I actually think if the EU is going to survive as anything but a shadow talking society - similar to the Socialist International, for instance - whose European member parties, incidentally, have generally embraced the same kind of neoliberal policies that Frau Fritz promotes with some largely cosmetic variations. See Hollande, François.
Cameron has been doing his share of nationalistic posturing against the EU during his term as Prime Minister. And even without being subject to the direct financial blackmail of Frau Fritz and the Troika (EU, ECB IMF), Cameron has been pursuing austerity policies all on his own during a depression with interest rates up against the zero bound. With the result that basic macroeconomics would expect, as Paul Krugman regularly reminds us, e.g., The Economic Consequences of Mr. Osborne 10/24/2012.
But at least he proposed a British contribution to the EU budget that would keep funding even with what little inflation there is. But the opposition Labour Party, along with 51 rebels from Cameron's Tory Party, voted against the budget. Speaking of the Socialist International, the Labour Party is a member of it. The politics of this don't get a lot of coverage in the US, but the social democrats (including Labour) have been supporters of "Europe", i.e., the EU. The main opponents across Europe have been conservatives and hardline rightwingers. Until Frau Fritz managed turn turn the eurozone into a German club to wreck the weaker economies of the currency union and override normal democratic processes to impose Merkel-subservient governments on Greece and Italy.
But the social democratic parties have not generally not articulated a politics of solidarity with the people of the less wealthy eurozone countries, much less opposition to the disastrous Herbert Hoover economics now dominating Europe. And both the Labour Party and the German Social Democratic Party (SPD) are supporting cuts in the EU budget as a way to capitalize on public dissatisfaction by displaying an "anti-Europe" stance but one of a conservative type, not an anti-austerity type.
Nicholas Watt reports an anonymous "former Labour cabinet minister" saying of Labour's opposition to the EU contribution, "The danger is that we are stroking a dangerous underbelly of Euroscepticism." Well, duh! (BTW, why did that comment deserve to get anonymity?) (David Cameron suffers Commons defeat on EU budget The Guardian 10/31/2012)
He also indicates that some international negoitating posturing is involved:
The warning from some Eurosceptics that they are keeping their powder dry until the substantial Commons vote to approve the eventual EU budget deal shows that he will have a tough hand to play at the summit.Simon Hoggart also suggests, "Some say that [Cameron] wanted to lose, secretly wanted to go to Brussels with the vote in his back pocket." But he adds, "If so, it was a most humiliating triumph." (Haunted by the ghosts of Major and Maastricht The Guardian 10/31/2012) "Some say" is one of those lazy journalistic formulations for expressing the writer's/speaker's opinion, that one that FOX News has favored.
The prime minister will tell Angela Merkel at a meeting next week that he faces intense parliamentary pressure to freeze the EU budget. But No 10 expects the German chancellor to say that she faces a more important challenge – saving the euro.
There's yet another EU Summit coming up this month, November 22-23. With the US Presidential election over, Frau Fritz and PM Cameron won't be under the same immediate pressure to postpone the next new acute phase of the crisis, so they will be more free to proceed in the destructive way they have been handling things the last three years. Not a cheerful prospect.
Tags: angela merkel, austerity economics, david cameron, eu, euro, european union, françois hollande