Van Rompuy is the latest EU personage to make a statement about the theoretical 'Brexit'. Again, the line has been adopted: the treaties are not up for amendment and an 'a la carte' menu is not allowed. To force this momentum, Van Rompuy emphasised that the option was in or out.
"The wish to redefine your country's relationship with the Union has not gone unnoticed," said Van Rompuy, a former premier of EU founding member Belgium. "I cannot speak on behalf of the other presidents and prime ministers, but I presume they neither particularly like it, nor particularly fear it."
Perhaps Van Rompuy thought that his line was a clever construction: emphasize the costs and introduce the notion that other members of the European Council are not particularly bothered. This could be defined as an emotional defence. Describe the exit as a form of petulance and indulge in personal metaphors as a descriptive narrative. If you judge this possible exit in a cold light: one of the biggest members leaving; Van Rompuy's speech trivialises the whole process and avoids an actual debate both here and in Europe.
The same symptoms are also displayed in debates over the Euro: an inability to engage with the catastrophic problems of the currency zone and rhetoric that puts forward stories without meaning. Sometimes, the utterances of EU spokespersons rival Comical Ali in their distance from reality.
How does this affect Cameron's wish to renegotiate relationships with the European Union? These statements prove that the ideological underpinnings of 'ever closer union' prevent the Commission and the European Parliament from supporting realistic changes to membership status. Their adherence to all or nothing leads those opposed from in to out. A truer question is how far their adherence will take them if political events within the Eurozone starts to undermine that glue?