EU jobs summit ignoring me, says PM
David Cameron has bitterly complained that he is being ignored at an EU summit on jobs and growth.
The Prime Minister formally raised objections in Brussels that his ideas for swift action on cutting red tape, boosting businesses and opening up the single market were not reflected in draft summit conclusions due to be approved on Friday.
A dozen countries are signed up to the "Plan for Growth in Europe", set out in a joint letter initiated by Mr Cameron and Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte and circulated to all member states 10 days ago. The letter emphasises the need to match the economic crisis response with a plan to "lay the foundations for strong and lasting economic recovery".
A rival Franco-German letter has also set out steps towards recovery, but EU officials denied there was any significant difference of view about the direction to take out of the crisis.
However, Mr Cameron pointed out forcefully at the summit table that some suggestions in the Franco-German letter explicitly appeared in the draft conclusions - but none of the plans set out in his 12-state document did.
A UK Government source described Mr Cameron as "frustrated", adding: "We are slightly surprised that you can have 12 countries saying you should do something and it is ignored. This letter was written by 12 countries 10 days ago and yet the issues we raised are not reflected in the draft conclusions."
The source went on: "We were asking for specific things and we have been largely ignored - even though these twelve countries account for more than half the EU population. Mr Cameron believes that summits should focus on being practical, setting out measures and deadlines, and making sure we do what we say."
After he addressed the summit, his Dutch, Finnish and Italian counterparts also pitched in to make the same points, aiming their wrath at summit chairman Herman Van Rompuy, author of summit conclusions on the basis of input from the member states.
There have been rumblings at recent summits that Germany and France are calling the shots in Brussels, and that Mr Van Rompuy, a former Belgian prime minister, favours their views when drawing up summit proposals.
Ironically, moments after the exchanges, EU leaders unanimously re-elected Mr Van Rompuy to serve another term as president of the European Council - effectively in charge of running summits. They had little choice - there was no other candidate.