The starting point for understanding the UK’s relationship with mainland Europe is that they don’t like us very much and we don’t like them very much, never have and never will.
The UK is geographically in Europe but spiritually and economically we are far more aligned with the US.
The politics of the latest summit made the UK’s agreement impossible from start, they knew it, we knew it.
One of the changes to the way Europe wishes to run itself is the implementation of a “Financial Transactions Tax”, neither France or Germany has a reliance on Financial Services as a mainstay of their economies, the UK does (it would be the same for Germany to be asked to agree to a manufacturing sales tax or France to a tax on wine.)
So all sides knew going in that if the new tax was not negotiable (and the UK was not going to be allowed an opt-out) then the UK would veto.
Does this matter? How this plays out long term is unclear, but it is clear that Europe going forward, is going to be far more clearly definable as those who are in the full club, and those with only associate membership (this will lessen the UK’s voice but is this important?).
The UK exports 70% of its goods to Europe, we need to stay within the trading block (i.e. not have tariffs to exports) but it is hard to see the UK ever now fully joining the club.
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