The latest reports coming out of the EU summit in Brussels is that all 17 Eurozone countries and nine others have decided to forge ahead with the treaty changes proposed by Eurozone leaders.
That leaves the UK in a minority of one. All on the day that Croatia joins the Union.
Earlier in the day it was thought that Hungary, Sweden and the Czech Republic may also be holding back. But it now seems that, in a huge power shift, they have signed up to the new deal, which has not even been fully articulated yet.
At the heart of all this is a simple question, should all the countries within the European Union surrender some of their sovereignty to the EU in order to save the Eurozone from implosion?
As all the EU countries’ economies are so intertwined the majority have decided that a stable Eurozone that they can trade with is the priority and that sacrificing their peoples’ national democracy is a price worth paying. For the UK to join in would require a shift of power to the EU, requiring a UK referendum under current national legislation.
Some commentators are saying that some of the smaller countries only agreed to sign to the deal, which should be ready early in the New Year, as they do not want to bite the hand that feeds them.
The UK Prime Minister, David Cameron, is standing firm in protecting UK’s position (especially that of the City) and has been congratulated by the London Mayor, Boris Johnson, for ‘playing a blinder’.
So now it looks like we are entering the era of the three speed EU – the Eurozone, the Eurozone plus nine and the Eurozone plus nine plus the one.
That the Eurozone and EU are willing to press ahead and sign up to new agreements (whatever they’re called) should be extremely worrying for the UK. It shows that vetoes no longer have the power they were meant to endow on nations so that they could protect themselves.
As Bernard Jenkin, Tory MP for Harwich & North Essex, said this would be a treaty within a treaty.
Green MEP, Keith Taylor, called the Prime Minister's decision 'inevitable' and said:
The news that the Prime Minister stepped back from endorsing the new fiscal union treaty is no surprise. Britain has rightly protected its sovereignty, and we are glad the UK stayed independent of the Eurozone both when it was created and now, in the retention of national decision making in taxation and financial policies.
The European Union set up a free trade area, which the UK should have unfettered access to under current agreements. This new set-up will endanger that unless the UK defends its corner.
But to do that may mean the UK threatening or taking legal action through the European courts every time the Eurozone or EZ+17 decide on new regulations that adversely affect the UK. With the other countries shaking their heads and continually trying to further sideline the UK.
This shift in the power base within the EU is extremely significant and changes everything. The UK must now have a referendum on its continued membership, as to stay in will at some stage require a loss of sovereignty and we should recognise that now and not leave the choice until it inevitably happens.