Dec. 13 - European Commisson President Jose Manuel Barroso has added to criticism of Britain's decision to veto emergency changes to the European Union treaty. Andrew Potter reports.
By refusing to agree to an emergency change to the European Union treaty, the UK has taken a very public step away from its neighbours. European Commisson President Jose Manuel Barroso has added to the criticism, saying Britain had made unacceptable demands. (SOUNDBITE) (English) EUROPEAN COMMISSION PRESIDENT, JOSE MANUEL BARROSO, SAYING: "The United Kingdom, in exchange for giving its agreement, asked for a specific protocol on financial services which, as presented, was a risk to the integrity of the internal market. This made compromise impossible." On Friday British Prime Minister David Cameron left his country alone in the 27 nation European Union. At a summit in Brussels to try and stop the euro zone debt crisis he vetoed plans for a fiscal treaty which would impose closer control over national government budgets. The plan is going ahead regardless. European Council President Herman Van Rompuy says the pact to enforce greater budget discipline will be finalised in March. (SOUNDBITE) (English) EUROPEAN COUNCIL PRESIDENT, HERMAN VAN ROMPUY, SAYING: "Following consultations with national parliaments, we should know the number of participating states. I am optimistic because I know that it is going to be very close to 27. In fact 26 leaders indicated their interest in this effort. They recognise the euro is a common good." On Monday David Cameron defended his decison. Britain's anti-European UKIP party has a seat in the European Parliament, and its outspoken leader Nigel Farage went a step further. (SOUNDBITE) (English) LEADER OF ANTI-EUROPEAN UKIP PARTY, NIGEL FARAGE, SAYING: "Well you've decided to head off on the Titanic towards economic and democratic disaster and we are now in a life boat." The new fiscal pact will be extremely demanding for some countries. It will require national budgets to be balanced, with annual deficits limited to 0.5 percent of GDP. It's hoped the first draft of the new fiscal treaty could be ready by next week. The European Union aims to have it in place by June. Anderw Potter, Reuters