Clegg: PM's veto will be bulldozed by Brussels forcing Britain to pay billions more into eurozone bailout


Tough talk: Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg speaks as Margrethe Vestager, the Danish deputy PM, watches

Tough talk: Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg speaks as Margrethe Vestager, the Danish deputy PM, watches

Nick Clegg yesterday claimed that Britain would be signed up to controversial EU reforms despite David Cameron’s historic veto.

The Deputy Prime Minister, who was furious at Mr Cameron’s actions in Brussels last month, said rejecting a new treaty was merely a ‘temporary arrangement’.

He suggested that the proposals vetoed by Mr Cameron would eventually be ‘folded into’ existing treaties – and went on to indicate that Britain would give billions more to the International Monetary Fund to help prevent the euro from collapsing.

The Prime Minister stunned European Union leaders when he blocked a treaty aimed at propping up the euro, after France refused to protect the City of London from a financial transactions tax.

Mr Clegg acknowledged that the issue had the potential to cause the Coalition to ‘fall apart’ – but insisted that such a scenario would be ‘disastrous’ for Britain.

At a London summit of leading liberals from across Europe organised by Mr Clegg, the Deputy Prime Minister insisted that Mr Cameron’s stand did not amount to a true veto.

‘“Veto” suggests something was stopped,’ he said. ‘It’s not stopped, it’s carrying on.’

He added that Britain ‘was never being asked to give up anything new’, and insisted that the plan would be pushed through despite Mr Cameron’s bid to block it.

‘We believe it should over time be folded into the existing EU treaties so you don’t get . . . two parallel treaties working separately from each other,’ Mr Clegg said.

‘We all see this as a kind of temporary arrangement rather than one which creates a permanent breach of our European Union.’

Conference: Mr Clegg made his remarks at a meeting of European Liberal leaders in Government at Admiralty House, London

Conference: Mr Clegg made his remarks at a meeting of European Liberal leaders in Government at Admiralty House, London

Prime Minister David Cameron, left, and Mr Clegg ride a train to a cabinet meeting at the 2012 Olympic Games site. Mr Clegg said Mr Cameron's wielding of the veto would not stop the UK's further integration within the European Union

Prime Minister David Cameron, left, and Mr Clegg ride a train to a cabinet meeting at the 2012 Olympic Games site. Mr Clegg said Mr Cameron's wielding of the veto would not stop the UK's further integration within the European Union

'HIRE OUT THE ACROPOLIS'

A banner from the Communist Party of Greece hangs near the Parthenon on Acropolis hill in Athens, Greece

Greece should lease the Acropolis to private firms to raise funds, a senior politician suggested yesterday.

Former health minister Gerasimos Giakoumatos said hiring out ancient landmarks would be preferable to going cap-in-hand to Brussels.

He said it was humiliating to beg for foreign funding, but equally embarrassing ‘when a Chinese tourist in Athens finds the Acropolis closed’.

Strikes have affected museums and sites across the country.

‘Instead of cutting wages and pensions, the state could lease the Acropolis,’ he suggested.

‘It could lease all archaeological sites.’

The call came as German chancellor Angela Merkel warned Greece that a vital second bailout would not go ahead unless the debt-ridden country ‘accelerated talks’ with its creditors.

Mr Clegg also appeared to confirm reports that ministers are preparing to hand billions more to the IMF, following the £10billion approved by the Commons in July. He said Britain would ensure that the IMF was ‘adequately resourced and equipped to deal with major systemic problems in the world economy’. Tory MPs were infuriated by Mr Clegg’s comments.

Peter Bone said: ‘It is typical of the way the eurocrats work that when a treaty or anything they want is vetoed they just ignore it and look for a back-door way of forcing it through.

‘It is absolutely appalling  that the Deputy Prime Minister is going behind the back of the Prime Minister to work with unelected European bureaucrats on circumventing the wishes of the British Government.’

His colleague Douglas Carswell suggested that ministers would struggle to win a vote in Parliament to increase funding for the IMF. ‘Why should hard-working British families pay to bail out fat-cat European bankers?’ he asked.

Mr Clegg’s speech came as the Prime Minister claimed that the EU’s plan to save the ailing single currency was little more than a ‘short-term sticking plaster’.

Mr Cameron warned that eurozone leaders needed to take some ‘pretty decisive steps’ to prevent the collapse of the euro, including urgent action to tackle the lack of competitiveness in many EU economies.

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