Links: Britain and Europe

Back in December, Anne-Marie Slaughter said she thought an EU-USA trade agreement might happen i 2013, and that the Americans saw the US and Europe pivoting together towards Asia. Art Goldhammer makes the good point that British eurosceptics should look out.

Professional super-Right Tory Peter Oborne catches up, spinning off a statement delivered by the State Department directly. There is no contradiction between the EU and the special relationship.

But there never was. The Americans have repeatedly pressed the UK to engage with the EU. I remember the same story from the Treaty of Nice; all sorts of people promised nightmares, but actual American diplomats and statesmen would repeatedly say that in their view, we ought to be in. Oborne is too partisan to say it, but the 51st state option has never existed. The Americans have never wanted the UK out of the EU. If they did, they’d say it.

It is true that a lot of Tories – Oborne names them – have dreamed that all the problems of leaving the EU would be solved by an appeal to America. The cult of America is part of the Thatcher cult in general. But Thatcher herself was never overawed by the Americans; the 30th anniversary releases on the Falklands War show that she was firm with them to a degree that the French would have considered flinty.

The belief that the Americans really want us out is pathological, relying on any blowhard willing to open the mouth as an alternative to their actual decision makers. The integrated north Atlantic market for bullshit means that internal Tory rows are exported across the sea and reflected back as evidence. As Hopi says, one result is that Thatcher’s Bruges speech would now be considered daringly pro-European.

Finally, Austrian chancellor Werner Faymann:

Mit Merkel habe ich ein gutes persönliches Verhältnis, innerhalb dessen wir inhaltliche Unterschiede haben. Warum ich mir mit David Cameron schwerer tue, vor allem auch im persönlichen Verhältnis und beim Vertrauen, auch wenn die Umgangsformen immer nett sind, liegt darin, weil ich bei ihm das Gefühl habe, dass für ihn besonders gilt, was wir vorher besprochen haben: Er redet im eigenen Land anders als im Europäischen Rat

My translation: “With Merkel, I have a good personal relationship, although we disagree about policy within that relationship. I find David Cameron more difficult, especially in our personal relationship and in terms of confidence [or trust]. Why? Even though his formal manners are always very nice, I have the feeling we discussed earlier but even more than with the others – he doesn’t talk at home like he does in the European Council.”

3 thoughts on “Links: Britain and Europe

  1. Pingback: Links: Britain and Europe | A Fistful Of Euros | European Finance & Economy | Scoop.it

  2. Pingback: [BLOG] Some Tuesday links « A Bit More Detail

  3. t’s interesting to see that when Mr Hallowell comments on what he sees as false choices, he neatly inserts one of his own. There does not have to be an in/out choice for the UK. There can perfectly simply be a Single Market, to which the UK belongs, while the EU recognizes that it is a two-tier structure, with the euro 17 more tightly integrated than the non-euro 10. In this picture, Brussels more and more becomes the Government of the 17 while providing trade servies to the 10.

    And how shall we address the problem for the US? There isn’t one. On questions concerning the euro area, the US will more and more have to talk directly to Berlin, no matter what the UK does.

    And how does the US manage its relationship with the UK? Again, nothing much changes. The UK can continue to be a US ally, and it can continue to remind the EU of the advantages of Free Trade and open markets. It’s hardly going to cause a crisis in Washington if Britons eat the odd bent banana, or we work more than 35 hours a week, withdraw from the CAP, or we keep our current justice system.

    Mr Hallowell’s problem is a very common one. He’s got trade and politics, diplomacy and economics, all tangled up together, as if they are inextricable mixed, when in fact the EU is the odd man out. The rest of the World can trade without political integration, and find military and diplomatic allies without needing to control their internal affairs.

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