By Julia Pastor, in Madrid | The British prime minister, David Cameron, warned during the last few days that he would not accept the reform of the European treaties if the assumed modifications harmed his country’s interests. As it couldn’t be otherwise, he kept his promise. Cameron said on Friday that
“it was a difficult decision to make, but the right one. What was proposed is not in accordance with the interests of the United Kingdom and for this reason I cannot support it”.
And in line with the most euro skeptical tradition of the Conservative Party, which he represents, and with the traditional anti-European sentiment of the isles, he said he was happy that he did not belong to the euro zone.
The UK interests to which Cameron alluded are no other than the privileges of the City, one of the major financial markets of the world and that contributes 10% to the country’s GDP. Cameron wanted the Treaty to include a protocol that would allow the exoneration of the UK from complying with certain specific regulations on its financial services. Of course, this was considered ‘unacceptable’ by the rest of his European colleagues, and especially by the French President, Nicolas Sarkozy, who mockingly and admittedly in a diplomatic fashion said that
“we did not reach an agreement due to our British friends.”
In the report from El País correspondent in London, the newspaper explained what could be the consequences of this twist in the British position towards Europe:
“What happened last night is a dream come true for the British euro skeptics. For the true ones: for those who want the United Kingdom to abandon the European Union. But it could end up being a nightmare for the medium skeptic, for the one who would prefer the European Union did not exist but since it does, it should be the most British possible.
“Politically, Cameron’s isolation in Brussels could have many internal consequences. Does it make any sense to be part of the European Union rather than abandoning it and maintain the economic and commercial ties? But if that is the case, can the City continue to be a European financial market if it is not part of the EU?