Daily Management Review

France vs England: Hollande Against London's Ambitions


François Hollande will lead the attack on David Cameron. French president believes that the European Council did extremely generous offer to London, yet Britain has too many demands, blackmailing the whole of Europe with its referendum.

On Thursday, Brussels will host a special summit, during which the EU will discuss and amend the UK’s proposal. It was formed by Donald Tusk, head of the European Council. Mr. Tusk's personal interest is obvious: his native Poland (as well as Britain and Sweden) is included in the EU, but not is in the Eurozone. Therefore, most of the proposed exemptions, including dual banking standards, will be distributed to several countries, not only to the UK.

However, many in the Eurozone are unhappy with the upcoming indulgences for London. Media wormed out text of French and Belgian statements, with which they are going to come out on Thursday. Several EU countries supported advance of the Franco-Belgian initiative. Hollande’s group wants to stop the "infectious" reforms, as many European countries, having the British precedent, may require indulgences for themselves.

In particular, London can be forbidden to deprive already arrived migrant workers of social support: restrictions may apply only to new guests. For many months, the UK Finance Minister George Osborne has been inventing a mechanism that would allow the City bankers to get out of the influence of the Eurozone regulators. Hollande’s group is going to at least substantially weaken this mechanism.

France, Belgium, Spain and Hungary are the most active critics of London at the moment. And Denmark, by contrast, actively supports all the British initiatives in terms of reforms.


If we look at French and English relationship on the diplomatic, commercial and even domestic level, there is an impression that the Hundred Years' War did not end. Now, Paris accuses London of sabotaging European union’s policy.

According to France, the UK should not be given the right to audit the European agreements and especially the right of veto on decisions made in Eurozone. Representatives of London should not be allowed to bargain at the Brussels summit, but forced to conduct civilized negotiations instead, according to official Paris.


Belgium fears "contamination" the most. London tries to limit the power of Brussels, and if it did it, many in Europe may follow the bad example. The biggest Belgium’s claim is that Britain offers more independence for countries outside Eurozone under the guise of reform. They want to keep all the advantages of being in a part of the EU, at the same time getting rid of centralized supervision. Brussels accuses London of undisguised selfishness.


Spain is emotional over the ECB’s future. Madrid fears that London gently but firmly pushes the regulator on the continent. The precedent as such also raises questions: there is no euro in Britain, yet many regulatory powers of the ECB still operate on its territory. Spain believes that Poland, Sweden and some other countries will have the right to demand the same concessions that can be given to London. Then the financial system in Europe will become even more complex.


Hungary stands up for its migrant workers. Tens of thousands of Hungarians live and work in the UK quite legally on the basis of the principle of free movement of people and capital within the EU. Budapest would not like if salaries of Hungarian workers in the UK suddenly decreased due to some kind of unofficial agreement between Tusk and Cameron.


Denmark is fully satisfied with the proposed reform of the British Prime Minister, and is ready to support Mr. Cameron in all his endeavors. The Scandinavian country is quite easy to understand: it has retained its national currency, the Danish krone. Denmark also regards the precedent and so-called "contamination" as a benefit, as it could require mitigation of financial rules, as a country-not a member of Eurozone.