Intoxicated by the toxic praise of the Eurosceptics of both the right and the left, prime minister David Cameron cannot stop trying to undermine the rest of the European Unions’ attempts to solve the Eurozone crisis. There are at least three reasons of self-interest why the prime minister should stop now and start rebuilding bridges.
First, if the Eurozone debt problem is not solved soon, the UK’s economy will be fatally damaged. British banks hold a large proportion of Eurozone countries’ debt. Any default would cause a banking crisis greater than the last one and demand much greater public spending cuts than this country could sustain.
Second, just as the Eurozone needs the UK’s support to solve its crisis, the UK needs the support of the rest of the EU in solving ours. It is unhelpful for Christian Noyer, the chairman of the French central bank, to have responded to the prime minister’s shenanigans by calling on rating agencies to downgrade British debt before France’s and to set out the ways he sees the UK’s economy being the weaker (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-16207748). This, on the day when the UK’s Debt Management Office reported the latest sale of UK bonds achieved the lowest level of cover for over six months (http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2011/dec/15/eurozone-crisis-live#block-17). What if this sale prompts the ratings agencies to listen to M Noyer?
Third, last year the prime minister negotiated and signed two new defence agreements with president Sarkozy of France. These cover sharing aircraft carriers and regiments and pooling other resources. The agreements enabled each country to make deep defence cuts and provided cover for the foolish scrapping of HMS Ark Royal and the entire fleet of Harrier jump-jets. The agreements were hailed as major achievements for the prime minister and the president. If Mr Cameron does not change, he may find these agreements are inoperable.