European Movement UK

Britain's future is with Europe! Join the debate and put your opinion forward!

History has a way of repeating itself. Once again the nations of Europe are about to embark in an unprecedented process of integration, just like they did after the 2nd World War, and once again Britain chooses to remain on the side-lines, unable and unwilling to help shape the structures that are bound to affect its own economic and political fortunes.

The banking crisis that followed the 2007-2008 credit crunch and the sovereign debt crisis that is so intimately connected to it have not just exposed the weaknesses of the eurozone’s monetary union. They have also demonstrated the irreversible nature of the project, the economic and political investment its members have made and their wish to do “whatever it takes” to ensure the continuing success of the single currency.

Perhaps the pace of governance reform, the remedy prescribed to ailing eurozone economies and the way it has been communicated to the markets has not been the best at all times but the Eurozone and the EU has found themselves at a crossroads and all the signs show which direction EU leaders wish to take.

It is not just Ms Merkel’s announcement that she will soon present a blueprint for political union at the EU level. It is the realisation among European and global leaders of the systemic importance of the single currency and the need to couple economic and monetary union with fiscal and political integration.

That includes Britain’s PM Mr Cameron, who has become a cheerleader of the eurozone and the need for it to pool closer together. The reason for that epiphany is not the he suddenly saw the light of pro-Europeanism. Far from it, Mr Cameron remains instinctively anti-European, not out of political conviction but due to the prejudiced rejection of everything that emanates from the EU that is so strongly present in the right-wing, nationalist side of his party.

But Mr Cameron knows very well that the wellbeing of the British banking sector and by extension the survival of the British economy is closely linked with the European banking sector and economy, which British banks and the British economy are so integrated with. So he is calling for Eurozone leaders to do the dirty work for him, while at the same time refusing to put his money where his mouth is, to put it blandly. It’s hard to imagine how such attitude can eve go down well with his European partners, who find themselves being lectured to do something that will also save Britain from economic collapse, while Mr Cameron refuses to contribute to the collective efforts the European economy (Britain included) depends on.

But his self-serving parsimonious attitude aside, Mr Cameron’s decision to keep Britain out of efforts to reform the Eurozone and away of moves for closer European integration means that once again Britain is allowing itself to be left behind, just like it did after the 2nd World War. Britain eventually realised that its interests were better served within the European Economic Community (as it was called then). But it was a bit too late so when it finally came to joining it was unable to influence its shape and institutional structure, something it had to live with since then.

Once again Britain condemns itself to watching from the side-lines the creation of a more politically as well as fiscally and economically integrated European Union, a development that is bound to affect it as much as the current construct does. But Britain will be unable to participate in that new construction and when the inevitable happens and Britain decides to join it, just like it did in the post war years, it will have to live again with and within an organisation it had nothing to do with creating.

Nations that do not learn from their history are bound to relive it.

Petros Fassoulas

Chairman, European Movement

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  1. Dear friends,
    I would like to add this article in BBC when Prime Minister Cameron warning against racism in football in England ( February 2012)
    so you can see another feature of Prime Ministerand I thinkthat is good opinion
    “Mr Cameron plans a summit on racism in football later this month.

    The prime minister will hold talks with governing bodies and players’ representatives after a series of high-profile incidents.
    ‘Kick it out’

    At a charity reception last month, Mr Cameron said: “My message is clear. We will not tolerate racism in Britain”
    Kind regards

  2. I fully agree with Mr Camerion, the he does not tolerate racism in football. I say, through out the country. If such will be tolerated in any country, there will be terror and cival wars, spreading to other countries. We have to learn from school age to respect others, mostly other races. Many times, it not the race, it the colour of the skin, but perhaps, this reverts to both of us, we look to each other different, and keep our distance. Religion, plays another obsatkil!. The way we dress, is obvious that we look at each other at an eye, but this can improve for the better, some improvement has been achived, I still respect their dress, if we visit their country, but living for life abroad, one expects to adupt to the set up of the country you are living. This is only fair, if you do not wish people looking at you, a mile away.

  3. Of course the lesson might be, don’t become too closely involved with continental European political dreams in the first place.

    You might find on reading the records of the political manoeuvring within the EEC in the 1960s, particularly with reference to the CAP and CFP that a number of structures were put in place specifically to disadvantage the UK in relation to the six founding countries. These facts were then hidden from the public for years by our own government, which I accept is not the responsibility of the EEC / EC / EU other than in terms of connivance. Given that, the general view within the UK tends to be that you cannot trust the EU, hence the levels of support enjoyed by the Union in the UK as disclosed by the Eurobarometer surveys year after year.

    I assume you are aware of the European Union Act 2011and the need for a referendum in the event there is any attempt to transfer power to the EU unless the impact on the UK is insignificant. Given that do you believe Cameron could deliver a positive vote where the question concerns full integration of the UK into a US of E? Or are you suggesting the people should not be consulted ?

    Finally, given the long history of the EU in terms of the democratic deficit and the delightful comments of Mario Monti explaining why he is not bound by the decisions of the Italian Parliament (06/08/12 Der Spiegel interview) I hope you can understand concerns about becoming involved in the structures you may create.

  4. The comment by Anna seems totally irrelevant to the subject of Cameron’s position on the need to hold the Eurozone together. Cameron is not being accused of being in favour of racism, and is a PR expert with past experience in the PR field.

    The views expressed by Petros Fassoulas are regrettably very pertinant in my view.

  5. It’s ironic that you sign off on your piece with ‘Nations that do not learn from their history are bound to relive it.’. It’s is the EU that hasn’t learned from history sir. Napolean, Hitler et all. Also, when you look at our history, I think you will find that we were far more successful as a nation state trading with the rest of the world than getting involved with your delusions of ‘European federalist grandeur’. As for ‘shaping it’s institutional structure’, who are you kidding?

    The project was initially set up for and by the French for them to play nice with Germany. We simply rubber stamped it because we thought it would prevent the incessant bickering and skirmishes between them. The original ECSC has evolved and been complimented with other sister institutions several times since then and the ECM of ’72 is massively different to the current EU. It’s system of law is incompatible with ours, it’s economics are completely flawed and it is wholly undemocratic.

    WW2 happened partly because of British (and French) appeasement of the rising German threat on the continent. Today the threat isn’t Germany as such, but the slow creep of back door federalism without democratic consent of each member states citizens. With Germany and France collectively at the helm. Conclusion. If you want ‘civil war’ in Europe, the EU is what will start it. It will not be member states versus member states no, it will be people versus institutions, governments and a perceived higher authority controlling their lives in a way in which they have no say whatsoever.

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