Prime Minister David Cameron presented his draft agreement with the EU this week, paving the way for a referendum in the summer. The other EU countries meet to ratify the deal at the end of the month. Cameron hailed a "good outcome for Britain" and made clear he would want to remain in the EU under the reforms. They address immigration, sovereignty, governance and competitiveness. Cameron had sought an "emergency brake" on EU migrants' benefits, which would come into force at once but then be gradually eased, while the European Parliament will have a veto on it.
There is an undertaking, not a formal protocol, to exempt Britain from thedrift towards "ever closer union".Fifteen of 28 EU parliaments would have to agree to a UK attempt to raise a "red card" to unpalatable EU legislation. Nor did Britain secure a veto for non-eurozone members wanting to resist a eurozone policy; instead, there will be a looser safeguard procedure. Many Tories, including leadership hopeful Boris Johnson, criticised the deal as inadequate.
What the commentators said
The agreement is as "substantive as a stick of candyfloss", said Jeremy Warner in the same paper, but that doesn't actually do the Out campaign any favours. There isn't a natural majority for Brexit that needs to be cajoled into staying by a successful renegotiation. "Rather, the burden of proof was always on the other side" and the Outers will have to make a far more persuasive case for leaving than they have so far. But "judging by the divisions between the populist and libertarian wings" of the campaign, that may never happen.
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With the polls close, the uncertain outcome may be starting to take its toll on sterling. It has slid by 7% on a trade-weighted basis against a basket of trading partners' currencies this year, and is close to a post-crisis low against the dollar. The pound "is no longer trading largely on expectations for when the Bank of England will raise interest rates", said Eimear Daly of Standard Chartered. He reckoned it may only recover its losses once the vote is held assuming we vote to remain.
Andrew is the editor of MoneyWeek magazine. He grew up in Vienna and studied at the University of St Andrews, where he gained a first-class MA in geography & international relations.
After graduating he began to contribute to the foreign page of The Week and soon afterwards joined MoneyWeek at its inception in October 2000. He helped Merryn Somerset Webb establish it as Britain’s best-selling financial magazine, contributing to every section of the publication and specialising in macroeconomics and stockmarkets, before going part-time.
His freelance projects have included a 2009 relaunch of The Pharma Letter, where he covered corporate news and political developments in the German pharmaceuticals market for two years, and a multiyear stint as deputy editor of the Barclays account at Redwood, a marketing agency.
Andrew has been editing MoneyWeek since 2018, and continues to specialise in investment and news in German-speaking countries owing to his fluent command of the language.
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