EU leaders were voting on a pivotal treaty in 2011, formed to help ease the pressure on the euro after the currency was plunged into crisis. The treaty stated commitments to “balanced budgets” for eurozone countries – defined as a structural deficit no greater than 0.5 percent, automatic sanctions for any eurozone country whose deficit exceeds 3 percent of GDP, and a requirement to submit national budgets to the European Commission.
Mr Cameron argued that a Europe-wide tax on financial transactions – a so-called Tobin tax – would hit the City of London disproportionately.
Mayor of London at the time, Boris Johnson, claimed that Mr Cameron had “played a blinder” while some in Britain claimed it had isolated the country.
As MEPs and Europe’s leaders fumed at the UK, many media outlets also sought to blast Mr Cameron for his decision, with one German publication even predicting Brexit five years before the referendum took place.
Die Welt, a German daily newspaper, responded to the controversy with an online story headlined: “Beginning of the end of Britain’s EU membership.”
In the piece, then President-elect of the European Parliament, Martin Schulz said: “I doubt whether Britain stays in the long term in the EU. Britain has never been isolated in the EU sun.”
He also argued that Eurosceptics would seize the opportunity to force the UK out of the EU.
Another German news outlet, Der Spiegel, ran an article in which a journalist described Britain as “petulant”.
In the piece titled ‘The man who said no to Europe’, a journalist said: “The UK is standing petulantly alone, no longer wanting to play.”
Meanwhile, Spanish media made an uncanny prediction. El Pais stated that the “fiasco” would ultimately leave a huge impact on Mr Cameron’s legacy.
The article read: “The crisis serves to weaken a Prime Minister who does not have the full support of his own party due to the rise of Eurosceptic sentiment and the perception that pragmatism has led Cameron to change the sidewalk.
“The fiasco of yesterday may mark his career. In the short term he has become a hero in your party. A retreat would make him lose that halo.”
While Europe’s press fumed at the UK, British media lauded the Prime Minister’s defiance, with The Sun’s front page headlined “Up Eurs”, and the Daily Express predicting that the UK was “close to EU exit”.