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David Cameron admits exit from the EU is “imaginable”

18 Dec 2012

In answer to a parliamentary question about a potential UK exit from the EU, David Cameron said, “That is not a position I support… [but] all futures for Britain are imaginable. We are in charge of own destiny, we can make our own choices.” He added, “I believe the choice we should make is to stay in the EU, to be members of the single market…but where we are unhappy with parts of the relationship we shouldn't be frightened of standing up and saying so.” Cameron also said he will deliver his speech on Europe “in the middle of January”.

Open Europe’s Director Mats Persson is quoted in the Times as saying, “This is the first time that David Cameron has publicly hinted at the possibility of the UK leaving the EU, which is significant. In his EU speech next year, it will now be difficult for [him] not to frame the issue as a choice between either renegotiation or leaving the EU.” On his Telegraph blog, Mats argues that the UK’s victory in securing safeguards from eurozone ‘caucusing’ in the area of EU banking regulation shows that there is “a model…between more EU integration and ‘isolation’.”
Open Europe flash analysis Open Europe research Times Independent Guardian EUobserver FT FT: Ganesh Telegraph Express Mail City AM Scotsman Telegraph blogs: Persson

Writing on Dutch news blog De Dagelijkse Standaard, Open Europe’s Pieter Cleppe highlights Open Europe’s proposals to reform the EU budget, noting that MEPs from the political parties composing the Dutch, Austrian and Swedish government coalitions, as well as the British Lib Dems, did not follow their national governments in voting against a 2.9% increase in the EU’s annual budget for 2013.
Open Europe research Dagelijkse Standaard: Cleppe

In an interview with Die Welt, the President of the European Court of Justice, Greece’s Vassilios Skouris, argues that it is “not beneficial” to debate whether the ECJ or the German Constitutional Court has the final say on the implementation of legislation granting the EU further powers, and that instead the two Courts need to “respect each other’s competences and be considerate of one another”.
Welt Welt 2 Welt 3

UKIP continues its poll rise
A ComRes survey for the Independent puts UKIP on 9%, up from 6% in the past month, while finding that 22% of those who now support UKIP voted Conservative in 2010, 15% Labour and 7% the Lib Dems. A separate poll, commissioned by Lord Ashcroft, has found that 12% of those who voted Conservative in 2010 now say they would vote UKIP – but only a quarter of those considering voting for UKIP mentioned Europe as one of the top three issues facing Britain. Writing on Conservative Home, Lord Ashcroft argues, “An in-out referendum on the EU is not the answer to the question of how to win back potential UKIP defectors to the Tories.”
Independent Times Guardian Telegraph Conservative Home Conservative Home: Ashcroft Lord Ashcroft polls

Draghi insists bank resolution fund does not need to be “enormous”
In his speech to the European Parliament's Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee, ECB President Mario Draghi confirmed that, to begin with, the ECB will have direct supervision of between 130 and 150 eurozone banks. He insisted that the proposed joint resolution fund for banks was not “necessarily enormous” and would be “90-95% legal changes and 5-10% money.” Draghi also insisted that the eurozone economy had the “best fundamentals” of any western economy.
Open Europe research EUobserver FT FAZ

Troika: “Extreme uncertainty” remains in Greece
The EU/IMF/ECB troika has released its latest report on Greece which notes that there is still “extreme uncertainty” around the economy and that Greece is €1bn behind its target for recovering unpaid tax. The report also notes that any delay in implementing the necessary reforms will only lead to further austerity. A survey conducted by Metron Analysis shows that 67% of Greeks expect things to get worse in the future, while 41% of young people are thinking about emigrating, reports Kathimerini.
EUobserver Kathimerini Kathimerini 2 FAZ EC website Welt BBC

Christos Patsalides, a Cypriot Finance Ministry official, told a parliamentary committee that Cyprus risks default unless it secures “€250m to €300m in the coming days”, reports La Tribune.
La Tribune

Corriere della Sera reports that the draft logo for a new electoral list called “Italy for Monti” is circulating in Palazzo Chigi – the Italian government’s headquarters. Meanwhile, in an interview on Italian TV channel Rete 4, Silvio Berlusconi blamed Germany’s “selfish” attitude for “the very serious situation we have come to.”
Il Sole 24 Ore Il Sole 24 Ore 2 Il Sole 24 Ore 3 Il Sole 24 Ore 4 Il Sole 24 Ore 5 Corriere della Sera Corriere della Sera 2 Repubblica FT FT 2

Expansión reports that the loans in arrears of the Spanish banking sector reached 11.38% of total loans at the end of October – an increase of almost 0.5% from the previous month.
Expansión La Vanguardia Periódico de Cataluña

The Irish Times suggests Ireland will use its EU Presidency to push for a deal on its bank debt.
Irish Times Irish Independent

A commission set up to examine the case for a British Bill of Rights is due to publish its findings today. In the Telegraph, Justice Secretary Chris Grayling writes, “it is time to examine how to curtail the involvement of the European Court of Human Rights in UK domestic matters.”
BBC Telegraph: Grayling Mail

The two candidates for leader of France’s opposition UMP party – Jean-Fran
çois Copé and François Fillon – have agreed to re-run the internal leadership election in September 2013, after the first election was marred by fraud allegations.
Le Monde Le Monde 2

MEPs in the Justice and Home Affairs Committee yesterday voted to support draft legislation that would allow law enforcement authorities access to the EU’s finger print database on asylum seekers.

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