Anatole Kaletsky has his piece in today’s Times proposing:
Britain is the natural leader of outer Europe
By championing the creation of a two-track EU, Cameron could strengthen our position
The article is not without its merits — no Kaletsky effort ever is — but it seems based on a fundamental misconception. Cameron, and many commentators share the error.
It comes down to this: there isn’t a simple Venn diagram of the EU27 and the €17. Were that the case, yes — there might be a rôle as shop-steward for the “outer” ten.
However, as of now a full 23 European entities use the Euro. Apart from the statelets (Andorra, Monaco, San Marino, the Vatican City) who really have no choice, there’s Kosovo and Montenegro. Latvia and Lithuania will be joining the EU in short order, and would unquestionably be adopting the €. Croatia, Macedonia, and Iceland are a bit further back in the queue. Albania and Serbia are wannabes.
So, in the middle term, it’s not being “natural leader of outer Europe”, but looking for a fourth to make up the whist table with Denmark and Sweden.
To make up the numbers, perhaps Cameron should be encouraging Salmond’s SNP to go independent, inside the sterling zone? On the other hand, Salmond is musing, not entirely without good reason, about an independent Scotland being somewhat of a Nordic nation.
That leaves the UK and … err …
Which brings us to the front page of today’s New York Times, and Sarah Lyall and Stephen Castle, who can do the counting bit:
No matter what happens at the European summit meeting on the euro in Brussels that begins Thursday, Britain is sure to lose.
There is looming recognition at 10 Downing Street that if the euro falls, Britain will sink along with everyone else. But if Europe manages to pull itself together by forging closer unity among the 17 countries that use the euro, then Britain faces being ever more marginalized in decisions on the Continent.
The truth hurts.