And so it came to pass that David Cameron visited Brussels, and while there he was summoned to the top floor ofthe Berlyamonster. Here he was given a fine breakfast.
According to PA,
"Mr Barroso made Mr Cameron feel at home by laying on traditional"English"
breakfast of bacon and eggs - never usually served up atCommission headquarters."
Indeed the Commission were telling all the assembvled journalists what a singular honour this was. Maggie never recived anything more than croissants.
I winder if this meal was suggested by the photos of the boy (see right) at Camp Bastion last week scoffing on down with the lads? Anyhow, for what it is worth I am prepaed to bet that the source of those rashers was Ireland, as young Jack O'Shea has the Commissions rasher contracts pretty well sewn up.
The point is that the menu on the breakfast table is ruddy irelevant. The Commission and Council will fudge the issue of the Budget peer review to allow Canmeron to emerge claiming victory (does a British Prime Minister ever do anything else in Brussels?) whilst more ever more powers slide across the channel. (Or should I say are bacon sliced away).
Don't think for a moment as you read the inevitable communique that the idea that we will hand our Budget over to the Commission for checking will go away, it is just that the Eurocrats and the COREPER members will be working out the methodologies over the summer whilst nobody is watching.
Nick Watt over at the Guardian follows up the breakfast theme, and makes some pertinent observations,
Scrambled eggs and bacon on the Brussels menu as EU woos David Cameron
British officials, who say that handing over a detailed read-out of Britain's autumn pre-budget report should keep the commission happy, point to three key elements in the 11th part of the conclusions:
• Section A says: "Due account will be taken of the particular situation of member states which are members of the euro area and of member states' obligation under the treaties." Britain likes this because the final four words refer to Britain's opt out from the euro under the 1991 Maastricht Treaty. This means the rules will be more lax for Britain.
• Section C says that the process of presenting fiscal information will be in the context of "taking account of national budgetary procedures". Britain says this means Britain's procedures – that a budget must first be presented in parliament – will be respected.
• Section D talks of member states "ensuring" that their budgetary rules are in line with the growth and stability pact, the mechanism which polices the euro. This is a dilution of an earlier version which says that member states would "adopt" such budgetary rules.
Which of course is right as far as it goes, but Nick is falling into a trap if he thinks that this is a British red line, as I mentioned earlier, the conclusions have watered down this deman, but only in so far as they do not wish to embarras the new boy. Over the summer the work will be done.
He does leave it to Farage to spoli the love in,
Amid the Tory / EU love-in, it has been left to the UK MEP Nigel Farage to warn that the Conservatives are selling out. When I bumped into Farage at the summit this morning he condemned Hague for signing up to a common EU foreign policy.
Speaking exactly six weeks after his plane crash, Farage said:
There is a huge misconception in the British press. Every time Mr Hague is interviewed it always begin with: the eurosceptic Mr Hague. Forget it. That is ten years out of date. The most interesting thing that has happened since the coalition came to power, as far as EU policy is concerned, is William Hague clearly and openly for the first time ever accepting the principle of a common foreign policy for the EU.
He hasn't accepted it in all areas. He has been very specific: 'We need to have a common European voice on energy security, attitudes towards Croatia and EU enlargement and Russia as well.'
So he is happy for there to be a common foreign policy in those areas. Is it any wonder, in the light of that, that everyone else is being nice to the British government at this summit?
Farage, who broke ten bones in his upper body in the crash, is on the road to recovery. Even he is not immune to the new love-in – Barroso wished him well.
I can assure you, he is immune, just because Barosso is being friendly, this evening's meeting with Mr van Rompuy (fact check please Mr Banks) will no doubt doubt show that.