18/02/2016 Newsnight


All the latest on David Cameron's EU negotiations, plus interviews with Lord Mandelson and Ukip leader Nigel Farage. Presented by Evan Davis.

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After months of preening and posturing, the official arguing


The Prime Minister arrives in Brussels,


armed with an appropriately strident metaphor.


If we can get a good deal, I'll take that


But I will not take a deal that does not meet what we need.


We'll ask the Ukip leader how he'd battle for Britain.


And Lord Mandelson knows who's side he's on.


I do want him to stick out for a good deal.


Because if he comes back with some pup, he won't be able to sell it


and that will pull the rug out from underneath the referendum


So he's right, I'm afraid, to go for the detail.


David Grossman's our man on the lookout in Brussels.


The merest whiff of a deal is in the air, not least


because Europe is desperate to start talking about


Are in Germany, they want a deal as where European power really lies.


Are in Germany, they want a deal as soon as possible, so they can push


on to discuss the refugee crisis. And not only are we in Britain,


Brussels, and Berlin, They try to do their best


to be good citizens. It is a rule of negotiations that


you don't know how they've gone, until they're over, when you find


out who was bluffing These decisive European Council


talks in Brussels fall It's hard to read


them mid-way through. But that's not going


to stop us trying. Our political editor


David Grossman is in Brussels. David, I take it the odds are


against us and the situation is grim? Exactly. The latest briefing


we got from Downing Street was that there was little or no progress at


the first working session. In truth we did not expect there to be much


progress. The first working session is when you identify the elephants


in the room, make them explicit. It is later that you try to reduce them


to a manageable side. The bilaterals will start in the next half hour and


during that time the legal minds of the EU will try to work out how to


give Britain the exemptions and status in the EU without dismantling


the treaties. That progress probably will happen tonight, tomorrow


morning. One new development that is interesting is the Belgians,


supported by the French, asked for explicit wording in the final


declaration that says it is a one-time deal for Britain. That


means there is no coming back after voting to come out of the EU in a


referendum and saying we want to go out a better deal. We put that to


number 10 earlier. They said they had not seen that version of a text


but would look at it with interest. You get the feeling they don't want


the idea to permeate around Britain you can vote to come out and really


stay in, because of negotiations at a later date. We shall see what


happens. In terms of the timetable, when do


you think we will hear what the outcome is?


Definitely not tonight. In half an hour we expect to hear perhaps from


Donald Tusk, the EU Council president who might give an idea how


the bilaterals will phase out during the back. Tomorrow there was an ATM


session which has been moved to 11am to allow them more time. -- ATM


session. This is the top of the mountain of diplomacy that David


Cameron has constructed since the general election.


No one can say that David Cameron has not put in the miles looking for


a deal. The final few yards towards the summit along the Brussels red


carpet this afternoon. We have important work to do today and


tomorrow. It will be hard. I will be battling for Britain. If we can get


a good deal I will take that deal but I will not take a deal but does


not meet what we need. It is more important to get this right than do


anything in a rush but with goodwill and hard work we can get a better


deal for Britain. Mr Cameron knows the other EU


leaders are just as anxious as he to reach a deal. They want the EU to


start talking about something else other than Britain. The leader of


one of the big groupings in the parliament is saying. We do not want


to take part in further political integration of the union. I think we


have to recognise that. Let's put that special status in the treaties.


And so give that special status to Britain. We cannot continue the


fight. There is plenty of concern in Brussels of what they call


contagion. Other countries demanding the same concessions Britain is


seeking. We struggled for many years in the European Union to have the


same treatment for citizens, to have the same rights for each citizen and


same access to the single market for each citizen. When we start making


differences, it can go further. Those principles should not be


watered down. I regret the EU is being watered down. This is not the


benefit of the Brits. At the centre of one of the European Parliament's


buildings is a noisy metal sculpture. Move one part and a


distant arm two floors up knocks against the Labour. A structure that


should work in harmony but a lot of work to do. This is a Flemish MEP


who wants the British deal to reverberate around the continent.


There is discussion on the contagious effects of the deal and


everyone saying it should be specific for Great Britain. We need


to have the same debate and advantages for all member states so


what Britain can do on social benefits, migration,


competitiveness, we need to be able to do that because if they decided


to leave we will need these exchanges. While David Cameron was


with EU leaders, look who we spotted at the European Parliament. Jeremy


Corbyn in Brussels for a meeting of European Socialists. I think the


reforms David Cameron and I want are rather different. I want improved


protection for working conditions, I want to see continuing right of


movement across Europe for people and I am concerned about secretive


negotiations of the transatlantic and trade partnership which David


Cameron supports. I don't support secretive negotiations, I think we


want something different. Are you looking forward to a long night,


asked David Cameron, as he sits with Donald Tusk. It is Donald Tusk's job


to steer the heads of government towards a deal. The crucial


ingredient that exists in Brussels is common purpose. Everyone wants to


reach consensus. Tonight the objection still stand from Eastern


Europe over benefits. And France over Britain's influence over the


eurogroup's reforms Belgium over abandoning the phrase ever closer


union. Even so, chances are that come tomorrow David Cameron will


return to the UK with a deal to recommend to the country. David


Grossman with the hand of history almost on his shoulder.


Earlier I spoke to Lord Mandelson - Peter Mandelson - the former Labour


Cabinet minister, a relatively successful election campaigner


and a one-time European Commissioner.


He is now on the board of Britain Stronger in Europe.


I asked him if the critics are right to say David Cameron has been


unambitious in his renegotiation. I am not sure he has been unambitious.


In fact he has got further than I expected him to do. If I had any


criticism of Cameron it would be this. The sort of engagement and


relationships he has built during this negotiation would have been


much better if he had started the process along time ago. In a sense


he is trying to achieve too much in too short a time. I think that the


deal he will get, if it is anything like that originally outlined, will


be relevant, it will be useful, and I think it will be able to be sold.


I think it is a quintessentially British thing, saying we are in


Europe, but we do not want to go further into Europe will stop we


believe in the economic partnership we have that gives us advantages,


these benefits, but we do not want to be signing up to some one-way


train heading towards a federal Europe. Shall I tell you why? I


think the rest of Europe does not want to go on that train either. I


wonder if one of the problems your side of the argument is the


perception that this is a bracket that has been imposed on


populations, by an elite, of whom frankly you are. If there is an


element of truth in what he was saying, basically, people will be


offered a choice between people like us and a bunch of nationalistic


fanatics on the other side. We have to draw back from the labels and


name calling and instead have a serious and informed factually


-based debate about Europe of the sort we have not seen in Britain in


my adult life. We know emotion will play a part, it will not just be


about the facts of trade, it will be about gut feeling. Emma Thompson was


in Berlin. She is a supporter of staying in. She described Britain as


a tiny cloud bolted, rainy corner, a cake filled, Ms relayed in grey old


island. Which I say she is entitled to her opinion. I do not happen to


agree with it! Is there a sense, called luvvies, new Labour, people


who do not quite gets... You are very free with your labels delight.


Luvvies and new Labour. Sweeping generalisations! I am trying to


provoke you into answering the idea this is a big problem for the Remain


campaign. What people are worried about in Britain are the basics of


day-to-day lives. They want secure, well-paid jobs. They want


well-financed, properly run public services. These are the things who


concern people voting in this referendum. If Emma Thompson wants


to make it about whether you are pro, anti-jam filled sponge cakes,


that is up to her! She and everyone else has a lot to contribute to the


debate and let it commence. Let's talk about the Remain campaign, what


should the pitch be? There has been talk about Project Fear, the idea


you try to scare the country. Are you a project via person? I am a


Project HOPE person will stop a project ambition person. Those who


advocate we leave the European Union, in my opinion, are saying we


should take a huge leap into the unknown. They think it is worth the


risk. Nigel Farage said to me, we will pay a price. He like others who


support him have said jobs will be at risk. Yes, investment might be


affected. They say it is worth taking this economic risk, worth


putting jobs in jeopardy in this way, because we will have more


control over our country. It may be a smaller, weaker country, maybe


less prosperous, but at least we would have control. I think that is


a fantasy. I would rather have a strong, large, prosperous, safe


country, where in certain circumstances and areas, in policies


and government activity, we work with other countries in order to


make ourselves more prosperous and safer. That is an important


principle. The person who enunciated that first in 1975, was Margaret


Thatcher. How important is it the personalities in your camp, and I am


thinking of one personality, Boris Johnson,? I think he is fun. He


would be such enjoyable company to have in a campaign. Whether he would


determine its outcome is a different matter. Labour's position, you are


comfortable where labour is? He has not been prominent, Jeremy Corbyn,


in the campaign? I think, actually, in the statement


he made today, he was making quite He was basically saying Labour


is absolutely for Britain staying Then he had a lot of potshots


at the Prime Minister - But then he dismissed out


of hand what the Prime Minister Now, I happen to believe that people


in this country don't want to pull They don't like this


sense that people can come here and take


us for a ride. In other member states,


they have a contributory system I've seen and discussed it


in a different context. So that people are


working and paying taxes and putting in before


they have the right to take out. I think what David Cameron is doing


in establishing that principle here and saying there is not


an immediate unconditional right to access to our


welfare system from the word go, I think that is what people


would regard as fair, and therefore I


think it is a completely legitimate part of the negotiation


he is undertaking in Brussels. And I think


if Jeremy Corbyn does not understand that,


he is not really on the same What is interesting listening to you


is that it seems as though there is, let's call it a soggy centre in


British politics. Some would say, Peter Mandelson


sounds like a Tory, for example. But you are closer to Cameron, aren't


you? You are closer to Osborne...? What I want is for Britain to remain


in the European Union because it is important for our prosperity and


safety. We have more power as a country in the rest of the world by


being in the European Union than we would have outside. Therefore I


think that what Cameron is negotiating in Brussels is


important. I don't think it is irrelevant. And yes, actually I do


want him to stick out for a good deal. If he comes back with


something less, he will not be able to sell it, which will pull the rug


from underneath the referendum campaign. Soldiers right to go to


the wire. Suppose we remain in, is that the end of the matter, do you


think? I think it is the end of the matter for Britain in Europe, yes.


But for reform in Europe? And on and it should not be. This needs to be


the beginning of a process, a platform for changing Europe in the


future. Because and really do believe that the European Union


needs to build bridges. It needs to build bridges between those in the


euro and those outside. But also, it needs to build some bridges between


itself and its citizens. You heard Lord Mandelson referring to Nigel


Farage. Why don't we talk to him now?! Good evening to you! I want to


start by just clarifying the point he made about you, which is, he said


you had told him that you would sacrifice a few jobs and some


prosperity in order to get more control over our destiny - is that


right? I will say, what a marvellous interview, Evan, to hear Lord


Mandelson at his fraudulent best was wonderful entertainment, and I'm


sure the viewers enjoyed it. Quite why he thinks he can speak for me, I


have no idea. He is right in one sense, that some people would lose


their job. Our 73 MPs would lose their jobs. Our European Commission,


and by the way, viewers, his name is Lord Hill. You cannot vote for him,


he would lose his job. And I have no doubt that highly paid bureaucrats


in the European Commission would lose their jobs. Beyond that,


absolutely nobody would lose their jobs. Because we will go on buying


motorcars and goods and services with the European market place, but


crucially we would be free to make with the European market place, but


our own trade deals with the rest of the world. Lord Mandelson, nice try,


but I am sorry, old son, you do not speak for me. You have given it back


to him with both barrels. You have basically said it is all a bit of a


Sharad, it is nothing. And yet a lot of people ask Arena round taking it


extremely seriously, because they think this hard renegotiation is


hard work - is it your contention that it is all just one enormous


act, or do you concede that they are doing some serious talking? I am


sorry, you cannot put words into my mouth, either. I have never called


this a conspiracy. Do not try to frame what I'm going to say in those


terms. When, three years ago, the Prime Minister in his room Burke


speech spoke about a referendum if he became Prime Minister, he talked


about fundamental change. He spoke about treaty change, he talked about


power is coming back to Britain, he talked about a negotiation over


whether we could control our borders. He even talked laughably


about reforming the European Union itself. None of that has happened.


What has happened here tonight, and yes, you're right, it is being taken


seriously, but what has happened is that we have got the British Prime


Minister, rather like Oliver twist, coming along with his begging bowl


and saying, please, sir, can we have some more concessions? Can we extend


the reduction in migrant benefits perhaps to ten years or beyond?


There are some countries, led by the Czech Republic, saying, we do not


want this. My belief is this. Firstly, there is no fundamental


debate going on tonight about Britain's relationship with the


European Union, only about a tiny aspect of it. And secondly, I think


most of what you are seeing here is theatre. It is the from Mr Cameron.


It is theatre from the other leaders. And they will be in


agreement mid-morning tomorrow. One thing doing the rounds tonight,


which is pretty interesting is the idea that there will not be a second


referendum. This negotiation is it. You presumably would like that,


because you think this should be it, you will accept the referendum


result, whatever it is, and that will be final, we cannot keep coming


back year after year? Well, as a veteran of this place, I have seen


two Irish referendums, whether people have rejected European


treaties and they have been and bullied in second referendums, where


one side out spent the other massively, into subjugating second


time around. We saw it in the 1990s with Denmark. The idea which has


been put about by voter leave and others, that may be a second


referendum is a clever way of selling this wreckage to the British


people, I do not agree with that. We have got to motivate people to get


up off their armchairs and get down to the polling station, even if they


have never voted in their lives before. I'm going to say a big, big


thank you tonight to the French and the Belgians for putting into this


final communique that this is it, this is our once-in-a-lifetime


opportunity to get back control of our country, and I absolutely


welcome that. You mentioned Vote Leave,, which is the other campaign.


One feature of what has been happening so far is that you guys on


your side of the Argent have been arguing with each other as much as


with the other side. Are you going to be at this meeting on Tuesday


when you all bash your heads together? I have tried four or five


times to meet with them, it is impossible. I am not convinced they


even want to leave. What has happened here is very simple. There


has been a pitched battle going on between Vote Leave and leave.dot.eu,


and this is why the other group has come together. We will be having a


big meeting tomorrow night in Westminster. On that platform, we


will have people from the right, left and centre of British politics.


Go has broken the deadlock. Go has now applied for the designation. And


we welcome the support of leave.dot.eu and if they can bring


themselves to do it, Vote Leave as well. Nigel Farage, thanks very much


indeed. Love it or hate it, it has seemed


like we are on a one-way road towards greater


integration and unity. Then came the Greek crisis,


incessant bickering between other EU members,


and now, potential Brexit. And suddenly, it seems


Europe might turn round, and drive away from


unity, not towards it. Nowhere is this causing more


nervousness than Germany. Mark Urban is in Berlin today


to look at the fears there. Out of the German wartime


cauldron came the impetus For the war generation,


the purpose of the European It stood as the polar


opposite to the horror of war and for


the construction of peace, literally, through the ever closer


union of Europe's peoples. But there are now senior


figures here who wonder whether all of that is


being called into doubt. For those at the top of politics


here, it is the migrant crisis that has created a real


threat to the entire I consider this crisis to be


of an existentialist I would say every part


has to be ready for I see a dramatic lack


of the willingness to compromise on this issue, and we can probably


experience a fundamental existential crisis to the cohesion


of the European Union. Some believe that at least


the challenge of British renegotiation has caused Germany


and the EU to debate Europe's Ever closer union,


it is the founding lie They honestly believe,


the elite believed, a lot of people believed, that somehow Europe


would develop into a superstate. It has been the position


of Britain all along - Tony Blair said it,


superpower not a superstate, and now Cameron has


got it in writing, that


this is not going to happen. It has not sunk home


for the Germans yet. The current generation of leaders


here has been shaped by the collapse of communism and welcoming


Eastern Europe back into the family. after the fall of the Wall


and the reunification of Germany in Europe, people saw


that as a triumph to be proud of, but now the migration


crisis has opened up fissures, We have a new situation where we


have to defend our values, where we have to talk about values again.


What are our values? And we have more and more the emergence of a rev


counter model to Western liberal democracies, within Europe. Coming


from Hungary, perhaps now from Poland. And everywhere you look, it


is about the West, the Europeans, have to redefine their identity with


regard to the challenges from outside and from inside.


Berlin is currently playing host to its film festival.


In the capital of Europe's most populous country and powerhouse


economy, they are trying to set the tone in culture


The EU's multiple crises - the euro, Brexit and migration -


have brought about another change here.


And that is a sober realisation of Germany's


responsibility of leadership in Europe.


And that won't change, regardless of how those individual


As the Germans look at us negotiating a few concessions, and


things we want, is there anything they find attractive in that


package, perhaps child benefit or anything, something attractive which


perhaps they would like to have? Well, don't forget, Evan, as David


Cameron goes into battle tonight, to a great extent, the Germans have


tuned up his offer, or his proposal, if you like, and done so over


several months. There are bits of it, on the competitiveness agenda,


completing the single market, that the Germans love. There are bits of


it which they are agnostic about - the commitment to the ever closer


union point, or getting that out of the way for Britain. And then there


is this issue of freedom of movement, which they tried


initially, well, they succeeded I think in convincing David Cameron to


step back from going too far on that, from comp rising on what they


see as fundamental principles, and they have now got him on the benefit


cap area, which as you suggest, I think there are some people in


Germany who can see that there would be Exchequer benefits for Germany as


well, if that goes through. On the other side, is there much sign of


German fatigue with the Brits requiring that the whole union sit


down and talk about our needs rather than all the other things going on?


Look, they want to keep Britain in, they want a deal. But one senior


politician said to me today, all of this for such a small matters. They


think David Cameron is taking a big risk in terms of possibly taking


Britain out of the EU on these issues, which they do not think,


Britain out of the EU on these many of them, are actually worth


that sort of gamble. I think there is also a sense here that at the


moment, when the crisis over refugees poses such a threat, what


many people in Angela Merkel's party see as an excess tension threat to


the EU, that so much time should be devoted to this, and that Chancellor


Merkel should be in some sense weakened or held back by her


advocacy of Britain on that point. They would rather focus on that


issue and push on to try to get some sort of agreement on the refugee


question. Thank you very much. We've talked a lot in recent weeks


about the "emergency brake" on migrant benefits, and migrants


coming from Poland and elsewhere. It is one of the key sticking points


of the deal being negotiated over You have heard politicians,


you have heard experts pontificate We've talked a lot in recent weeks


about the "emergency brake" on migrant benefits, and migrants


coming from Poland and elsewhere. It is one of the key sticking points


of the deal being negotiated over You have heard politicians,


you have heard experts pontificate But we have found a better place


to get the lowdown on this - the 11am bus to London,


departing from Krakow in Poland. Yesterday, our producer


Maria Polachowska caught that bus and she arrived an hour late,


at 1230 today, with a disk full I have been working


here for over ten years. Most people appreciate


the UK because they can If you work in Poland,


the minimum wage is like And you can't pay your bills,


you can't rent a flat. And then you go to England,


you work the same, and you earn enough to earn a living,


to have a normal life, all people who take advantage of the


benefits, but it is only a little part.


It is a bigger market in the UK, it is


easier to sell invention or publish a book.


What you would happen if Britain did choose to leave?


How would that affect Poles working in the UK?


Most people would come back or go to other countries,


Do you agree with David Cameron that there should be a four-year gap


before you are allowed to get benefit?


Do you think people may look elsewhere and travel to other


Many of those people have already come here.


Many of the children were born in England.


To look for a job, place to live anywhere else.


I think coming back to Poland, there is no


The bus arriving from Krakow at lunchtime today.


Joining me now is Guardian columnist Simon Jenkins,


from the Times, Lord Danny Finkelstein and from our Paris


Let's look at the French newspaper front cover about Britain and


Europe. It says go if you want to, it says would Brexit be such a


dramatic development, anyway? Christine, is that the mood


everybody has their, that we are causing trouble, we are weary of it


and it is time to make up our minds? I think there is a kind of fatigue


about Britishness of it all. Ever since Britain has joined the EU we


have been used to London asking for specific treatment, conditions and


so on. The kind of trap which your Prime Minister seems to have put


himself into, for probably valid domestic reasons, as far as British


politics are concerned, it gets to be a little bit tiresome on the


continent. Of course, all of our countries have their own problems


will stop as indeed your Berlin correspondent stressed, and the


discrepancy between the time spent on the wording, phrasing, what's


David Cameron might or might not get from this long Brussels night and


probably again tomorrow. And the real issue which we Europeans have


two face and when I say we Europeans, I include my British


friends stop I think there is something wrong there. We have this


huge migrant crisis. We have problems with jobs, the environment.


We have the war in Syria. You do not need to spell out all of the... I


think we understand the point. It is irritating to be told we have spent


a lot of time discussing Britain's problems as if we have not spent a


lot of time discussing France's problems and as if we have not had


referendums in France that require a response. Britain has concerns about


the EU. People want a single market, not a politically developed a


European Union, which is why we opted out of the euro, the Schengen


agreement, and now out of closer union we will try to opt out of. It


is not as if our special relationship with the EU is any


different. It is irritating to be told it is a waste of time to deal


with one of the world's biggest economies. It depends how you view


Europe. If you see it as part of a political hole, we are a pain in the


neck. We do not see Europe that way in this country. The relationship


between Britain and the European countries has broken down, which is


what this has been about otherwise he would not be in Brussels. We were


promised a new job retreat, new relationship with Europe, as a


trading partner, it is not delivered. It seems to me he has got


to walk away. He cannot vote yes to this package. If he votes yes


everything goes on as before if he votes no, it gets interesting. There


has been argument in Britain about whether we wanted to join a


superstate and since that argument we have the referendum act, we have


opted out of the euro and Schengen and now we have negotiations that


come on top of enlargement and other problems inside the EU, that what we


feared would happen ten years ago, that Europe would develop into a


single country and we would have to be part of it or leave that is not


now the choice. So I do not agree with Simon. If you vote yes, nothing


changes. I do not think it will make much difference if you vote yes or


no, we would have an associate relationship. Christine, is there a


feeling there that this at least might resolve it? Simon Jenkins said


if we vote to stay in we will carry on with the dysfunctional


relationship as we have the last 40 years. David Cameron has said if we


can resolve this once and for all, all of Europe should be much


happier. Yes, but it seems to many of us on the continent that when it


is expressed that way, it means there has to be a British set of


rules and the rest of us, and we just have to deal with that. That


idea of a special partnership, which would do what, protect British


interests and not other European interests? It is hard to take, it


does not make much sense. If the British people want to get out of


Europe, we will see what happens. I think it is quite unfair to say, but


in any case, it would really improve things so much more by having that


sort of special deals that we would of course be very specific about and


not you. You formed a single currency so you have a different


relationship because you formed a fiscal union which requires a


political union. Printed not want a single currency and that was within


the deal we did. Nobody asked you to be in the single currency, you opted


out. And nobody asked you to let us opt out. We were able to opt out and


we did. Simon you wrote an interesting piece today essentially


arguing we should vote no because that would give a kick at the bottom


to the relationship and it would be properly re-establish. Tonight, what


is interesting, everybody is saying, we cannot have another referendum


after this, this has to be the once and only choice. Your piece was


predicated on another referendum. I was simply saying that if you are in


effect say, we want to alter the relationship between Britain and the


other countries in a particular fashion, nobody is coming out of


Europe. This is city tour. If we vote no, there would have to be an


almighty renegotiation. The relationship would be different, it


would be some sort of associate membership. I'm sure. The only


question is what with the nature of it be? No government can preclude


that, a future government might say we ought to have another referendum,


that is all I am saying. No is not known to Europe, it is no to the


present relationship. That is the idea that any relationship with


Europe would be better. I do not accept that. We have a lot of parts


of relationship that we want. A single market allows people to trade


and reduces regulation to business. You would get that in the


renegotiation. Not necessarily. The only guarantee is now that you get


none of it. We are out of time. Thank you.


By this time tomorrow, will we know? That is all we have time for. Have a


very good night.


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