by Hugo Dixon
"What Johnson doesn’t say is that there is no guarantee that the Five Presidents will get their way. While lots of euro countries do want fiscal union, they differ on what form it would take. For the Germans, it means more discipline. For the Italians, it means less austerity and more job creation.
It’s because of these wildly divergent views that the Five Presidents’ Report is now gathering dust. It merited just two non-committal paragraphs in the communique at last December’s summit of EU leaders.
Of course, it is possible that the leaders will eventually overcome their differences and push ahead with some form of fiscal union. Johnson is right, too, that David Cameron has promised not to create obstacles to such a move as part of his renegotiation of Britain’s relationship with the EU. This was a mistake, as he gave this assurance without knowing precisely what, if anything, the euro zone may propose.
But, in return, we got commitments that the euro zone will not discriminate against the UK and a pledge that the EU treaty clause calling for “ever closer union among the peoples of Europe” will not apply to us. These provisions – along with our existing opt-out from the single currency – protect us from the bogeyman of an EU superstate."