UK finance minister George Osborne´s posturing on Brexit is becoming funnier by the minute.
This is what he and his officials has been telling journalists lately:
”Mr Osborne has made clear to fellow EU finance ministers that he will not be seeking any veto or special City carve-out — a perennial worry in Berlin, Paris and Brussels.”
Right, because that´s where the power balance is at!, re Brexit:
Mr Osborne makes things clear, does he?, and Berlin/Paris/Brussels sits around full of worries?
It´s not at all what it looks like from the sidelines then; One country asking 27 other countries for special treatment and threatening to shoot itself if it doesn´t get what it wants.
So Mr Osborne is not asking for a veto. He´s not jumping off the bus and demanding to have the final word over where the other 27 go in the future.
That´s big of him,
And so reassuring for the worriers on the continent!
”Many ministers are pleased Britain is not demanding an outright veto and the reaction to the safeguards has been cautiously positive…”, writes the Financial Times today.
This is where it gets hilarious.
The safeguards Mr Osborne is considering asking for ”is a brake mechanism based on the so-called Ioannina compromise”.
(Sorry, slip of the tongue there, of course Mr Osborne is not asking, in London speak that must be is offering.)
Remember the Ionannina compromise?
If so, I know you are already laughing.
If not, well that´s probably because it´s useless and therefore has only been mentioned once since its introduction in January 1995 and was then basically laughed off.
The Ioannina compromise was thought up by the UK, a demand from Prime Minister John Major because the UK did not like the fact that after the EU enlargement of January 1995, they would have to find more allies when trying to block a new decision.
This is what the Ioannina compromise says:
”..the Council will do all in its power to reach, within a reasonable time and without prejuidce to obligatory time limits,… a satisfactory solution which could be voted with at least 68 votes.”
Shorthand: If the blocking majority is not big enough, Council must try again before they go ahead voting.
The Ioannina compromise was mentioned only the once, in October 1995 when voting on extra compensation to farmers for monetary movements.
Not much use though, the Ioannina clause. The then Spanish Presidency concluded that there was a comfortable majority and went ahead with the vote.
They could do that because ”satisfactory solution” and ”reasonable time” is a judgement call. A shaky thing to relie on at best.
Still cautiously positive over in London?
Good for you.
I think you may have allayed the fears of Berlin, Paris and Brussels too.