UK retains taxation veto at Nice summit

And in the early hours of this morning the Treaty of Nice was finally agreed following five days of negotiations hinging on reforms designed to prepare the EU for further enlargement.

Plans to increase the voting power of larger states had provoked a revolt among smaller countries, including Belgium and Portugal, which were concerned at their loss of power. But the countries later backed down.

Blair described the negotiations as ‘an exercise for us getting the best out of Europe’. After what he said were ‘difficult and complicated’ talks, he proclaimed the summit a success for the UK.

‘When we came to this summit we were told we would lose on defence, lose on social security and come under pressure on tax.

‘In fact the whole of this summit has been an exercise in getting the best out of Europe for Britain,’ he said.

But the Conservative’s said they would not have signed the deal.

Speaking on Radio 4’s Today programmed, shadow foreign secretary Francis Maude said: ‘What’s so disappointing about all this is it all goes in one direction.

‘It is all more political integration, deepening and tightening the integration of Europe, which is the wrong agenda.’

The unratified Treaty of Nice is due to be signed next year.

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