“Europeans have something to cheer at last,” writes columnist Philip Stephens in the Financial Times. US President Barack Obama’s nominations of pro-EU politicians John Kerry to the State department and Chuck Hagel to the Department of Defense offers an opportunity for Europe to reconnect with its key trading partner. The “White House wants to revive the long-stalled goal of a transatlantic free-trade area”, writes Stephens, but Washington is troubled by the UK’s anti-European stance. –

The US thinks Cameron is barmy to be talking about a referendum that could detach Britain from Europe. One certain consequence of Brexit would be a weakening of Britain’s voice in Washington. Mr Cameron has now been put on notice that outside the EU, Britain would be on its own.

The newspaper adds that through joint EU-US diplomatic pressure on Iran, both sides could further strengthen their ties, and “break free of the suffocating introversion of the euro crisis”. However, there is no such thing as a free lunch, –

Refurbishing the alliance will come with a price tag – but then so does everything worthwhile. Europeans cannot expect to be taken seriously if they ratchet down further their feeble defence budgets.