The European action was predictably negative. Laurent Fabius, who has evidently been honing his wit for the occasion, came out with this remark for the ages:
“You cannot do Europe à la carte,” said Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius of France. “Imagine the E.U. was a soccer club: once you’ve joined up and you’re in this club, you can’t then say you want to play rugby.”No, but you can change the rules of soccer, and the rules of European membership have been continually and some would say surreptitiously modified over the entire history of the Union. Indeed, rules-changing has been the EU's sine qua non. But then again, what polity has endured for any length of time without adapting its rules for any number of reasons, some good, some bad.
Cameron's move should intensify the Eurodebate that has been raging for several years now. The next year promises to be a fascinating time for Eurowatchers.
UPDATE: Kathleen McNamara sees Cameron's proposal as a "non-starter" but also takes it for granted that the tighter political integration without which the EU cannot in her view survive is in fact achievable. German voters may now be as euroskeptic as UK voters, as German elections this fall will likely show. Cameron may just be the advance guard of a movement whose strength and transcontinental variety have yet to be gauged.