What a week it’s been for UK relations in Brussels. Media coverage was dominated by the British Prime Minister, David Cameron’s, failure to reach an agreement and deliver a deal that would have ensured that the UK remained at the heart of continuing negotiations in Europe.
Instead Britain has isolated itself, or at least Cameron has isolated Britain, the Coalition Government is in disarray and Britain is the laughing stock of Europe.
We are marginalized and isolated. Wisely (and it’s odd to say this) Nick Clegg has warned Cameron not to appear triumphant tomorrow when he reports back to Parliament tomorrow.
How Cameron will be able to build any sort of bridge with Europe who are rightly furious with his behaviour remains to be seen.
The Financial Times has an excellent write up in this piece which you can read here.
There are further implications, however, which concern the way in which business will be affected. Cameron may believe he has helped the City in his (short sighted) moves, but he is very misguided.
The threat it poses to economic growth in the UK has been expressed by business and manufacturing groups across the country. Manufacturers, many of whom are heavily reliant on demand from the EU are very nervous.
Steve Coventry, head of government affairs at manufacturers’ association the EEF, says was interviewed by the Guardian and told the paper: “What we need to do is step back, forget about the politics of this, and think about the practicalities of the way it’s going to affect how we engage with our EU partners on a daily basis.”
Perhaps the most high profile concern from the City comes from The British Bankers’ Association chief executive Angela Knight who told the Guardian: “We do not yet know the impact this new arrangement is going to have on the UK’s ability to secure agreements on sensible regulation – but that is critical.”
You can read the full article in the Guardian here.
And the Association of British Insurers adds: “The immediate challenge for us will be exerting influence over EU regulations that will affect the UK financial services industry and its customers.”
The greatest fear is that Cameron has left the country, industry and business exposed.