The senior official quoted yesterday by the Daily Telegraph
is either hopelessly optimistic or knows something that a lot of us in Britain cannot even imagine. Throughout his party's campaign for election David Cameron, now PM, vowed to restrict all future transfer of powers to Brussels and has repeated this pledge countless times since entering No. 10.
Now, following his first EU Summit as PM, senior Belgian officials have predicted that Mr Cameron will break his promise not to transfer powers to Brussels by yielding to plans for an EU "economic government
" and City regulation.
These two issues are top of the country's agenda for the EU as it takes over the EU's six month rotating presidency and so grants it a leading role in negotiations.
The aforementioned article
explains that Belgian negotiators are seemingly convinced that Mr Cameron's hard line opposition, a pledge written into his coalition government's agreement, will be sacrificed in the interests of pragmatism.
The senior source observed that no EU agreements would ever be possible if all European leaders stuck to the "totality" of their election manifestos. "It is impossible to have compromise with total programmes," he said.
I cannot decide whether this is blind optimism or ambitious thinking, but I certainly cannot imagine Mr Cameron conceding (if he ever does) without one heck of a fight. Six months might not be enough in that scenario...