When the European Commission president agrees with David Cameron his views are 'definitive'.
When the European Commission president agrees with David Cameron his views are ‘definitive’
The Tories have been quick to dismiss comments made by the outgoing European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso that the UK would have ‘zero’ influence if it decided to quit the EU.
According to the BBC, a No 10 source said Mr Barroso ‘should be under no illusion that the status quo is not acceptable to the UK’.
Barroso also said that without agreement from all EU countries on changes to EU migration rules, the prime minister’s plans to curb EU migration could be illegal.
Again this has been dismissed by Downing Street, which said Mr Cameron would listen to Mr Barroso’s argument but that Britain needed to negotiate a better deal.
Which is all quite amusing really, considering that until very recently the government treated Mr Barroso’s word as gospel; or to be more precise, as ‘definitive’.
You may recall that, during the Scottish referendum debate, Mr Barroso intervened to say that an independent Scotland would have to re-apply for EU membership.
David Cameron responded to this intervention approvingly, describing it as ‘very telling’:
“What I say to Alex Salmond is he in a way wants to have his cake and eat it. He wants to say ‘I want to separate from the UK, I want this new future for Scotland’, but on the other hand, he doesn’t want the consequences that flow from that.”
Scottish Tory leader Ruth Davidson also called it a “definitive intervention from the President of the European Commission, which Alex Salmond simply cannot ignore”.
In other words, when Mr Barosso agreed with David Cameron, as during his intervention in the Scottish independence debate, his views were ‘definitive’ and ‘very telling’. Now that he is talking about the European Union and the possible illegality of the PM’s migration proposals, his arguments are of practically no significance.
Perhaps Barosso’s views on the Scottish independence referendum were not so ‘definitive’ after all, then. Or maybe they were, and are just as ‘definitive’ on the question of reform of the European Union.Sign up to Left Foot Forward's weekday email for the latest progressive news and comment - and support campaigning journalism by making a donation today.