Monday, 10 May 2010

UK dragged into Eurozone bailout

The Guardian reports:
After a special summit of the 16 eurozone government leaders, which ended early on Saturday morning, the European commission and the 27 finance ministers of the EU member states quickly agreed on a so-called stabilization mechanism, invoking last-resort emergency clauses in the Lisbon treaty as the legal basis.
The Telegraph was more forthright:
Mr Darling had no choice but to surrender because the decision was taken under a Lisbon Treaty "exceptional occurrences" clause that stripped Britain of its veto.
An earlier report by The Telegraph provided further detail on our weak bargaining position, and on the "exceptional occurrences" clause:
All 27 EU finance ministers must be present, but because decision will be taken by qualified majority vote, the 16 euro zone leaders can ensure its passage.

José Manuel Barroso, the European Commission President said: “We will defend the euro, whatever it takes.”

British officials are concerned that the EU is preparing to use the sweeping Lisbon Treaty clause as the legal basis for a European bailout scheme.

Under the clause, an EU member state hit by “natural disasters or exceptional occurrences beyond its control” can receive “financial assistance” after a qualified majority vote by European leaders.

Supporters of the plan argue that “exceptional circumstances” includes market “attacks” on the euro.

It is typical that markets are now being blamed. The true culprits, of course, are the profligate governments of Greece, Portugal, and Spain, and the euro itself, which facilitated the profligacy. It is even more concerning, albeit predictable, that clauses of the Lisbon treaty are being abused to push through policies that are against our national interest.

It is not clear how much eurozone bailouts will end up costing Britain, but it will be billions. Billions that, needless to say, we cannot afford. We have a desperate enough job digging ourselves out of Gordon Brown's debt, without assuming liability for the debts of foreign wastrels.

Daniel Hannan feared this might happen.

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