Tricky treaty

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One unfortunate side-effect for Prime Minister David Cameron of the Syriza victory in the recent Greek election is that what little appetite there was for treaty change in the EU has diminished even further.

Leading eurozone countries will clearly be wary of handing the new Greek prime minister, Alexis Tsipras, and his right-
wing coalition partners the chance to press for changes to 
the rules governing the single currency.

The fundamental treaty changes sought by Mr Cameron – who has pledged to hold a referendum by the end of 2017 on revised membership terms should he win the general election in May – will now be almost impossible.

If you open up treaty change, there is a clear concern as to what the Greek government will put on the table, and there will also be demands from the other member states.

In these circumstances treaty change is strongly opposed by France. François Hollande, the French president, believes he would have to hold a referendum on a new treaty, which would hand a political gift to the Front National leader Marine Le Pen.

And while Germany is keen to underpin new eurozone governance arrangements in a revised Lisbon treaty, it accepts that this is all but impossible in the current climate.

Mr Cameron’s pledge of a fundamental reform of the EU treaties, which it should be remembered will require to be approved by all 28 EU member states, just got even harder.

Alex Orr

Leamington Terrace

Edinburgh