The British government has no plans to hold a referendum on the new EU treaty, Miliband has declared. He was speaking to a joint news conference with his Spanish counterpart Miguel Angel Moratinos, prior to today's meeting of the foreign ministers in Portugal to discuss the new EU treaty.
"The position of the British government is that we should have parliamentary scrutiny of the reform treaty and not a referendum," Miliband added, then going on to say: "We are looking forward to the final signatures being put on the treaty at the end of the year and then proceeding to parliamentary scrutiny according to the well-established procedures of previous treaties."
And, as a parting shot, he told the journalists, "The Nice, Amsterdam and Maastricht treaties, as well as the Single European Act, were all approved by Britain's parliament".
Previously, EU commission president Barroso had expressed his "confidence" that the new treaty "could be agreed at a summit next month". He was speaking at a joint press conference with Portuguese President Anibal Cavaco Silva, who "agreed" that the negotiations on the treaty should be wrapped up at the EU summit in Lisbon on October 18-19.
Silva said he was becoming "more confident" that it would be possible to conclude the reform treaty under the Portuguese EU presidency, so that the European Union could concentrate on other pressing matters such as its global role, the economy and climate change. "Europe needs more Europe not less Europe," he asserted. "Even big countries and rich countries can't go it alone, we have to work together," he said.
So there you are. Not one iota of movement, not a scintilla of concession - not that we expected either. These people have the power and intend to use it. They didn't exactly say, "Up yours," but they might just as well have done.