European Movement UK

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Seldom does a Prime Minister display such lack of diplomatic common sense as David Cameron does when it comes to his EU policy. From lecturing in a patronising fashion from the side-lines to exercising an ineffective and unnecessary veto, Mr Cameron has managed to alienate and baffle in equal measure his European partners.
But this time he has gone as far as to exclaim that he is “entitled” to threaten fellow EU Member States while they are engaging in a process of reform of the EU and the Eurozone. It beggars belief why he has chosen to employ such arrogant behaviour, at the very moment when Germany’s Finance Minister warned that the UK cannot blackmail its EU partners.
The irony is that Mr Cameron has repeatedly stated that the wellbeing of the Eurozone is in the UK’s interest. He professes that the Eurozone needs to reform if it is to ensure its wellbeing. But in the same breath he says that he is prepared to block those reform efforts. There is something schizophrenic about his approach to EU policy-making.
So, he is adamant that the UK’s contribution to this process of reform will be limited to using it as an opportunity to “take back powers from Brussels” and create a new relationship with the EU, using a veto if necessary. He has based his approach to EU membership on that attempt and he then plans to put its outcome to the British people for a vote.
But this strategy is doomed to fail, as previously argued. There is very little chance that the UK’s EU partners will allow it to abandon its Treaty commitments while affording it all the privileges of Single Market membership. The Single Market Act (and all the implementing regulations and directives) is a complicated set of rules, which ensure a level playing field for all participating states. Trying to unpick those agreements means the unravelling of the Single Market itself. What is to stop other Member States from asking exemptions from areas they consider cumbersome, areas dear to the UK? It’s like opening Pandora’s Box, which will undo the Single Market and cancel the many benefits it affords its members.
Employing threats while the EU is dealing with issues of an existential nature limits even further the chances of winning allies and achieving his objectives.
So, the Prime Minister will return empty-handed after having failed to “repatriate” powers and change the UK’s terms of EU membership. Even if other members states feel sorry for him and give him some token powers back they will never be enough to satisfy all those Europhobes in his party, UKIP and the tabloid press who he has been trying to appease with fantastical notions of “power repatriation”.
He will then have to put to a vote that failed outcome and be forced to campaign against EU membership, since he has repeatedly stated that, even though he believes that the UK should remain in the EU, the status quo is not acceptable.
Here lies the absurdity in his strategy. His failure will be complete.
Instead the PM should be joining other EU leaders in their efforts to improve the way theEU functions, deepen and widen the Single Market and improve those EU policies that need amending. A winning strategy is made up of constructive engagement, building alliances, providing a vision for the EU and participating in efforts to make that vision a reality. Threats, blackmail and the pursuit of self-interest belong to an area of national conflict, an era the EU replaced long ago with supranational co-operation and consensus building. Mr Cameron should read his history books before making his much awaited speech.
Petros Fassoulas, European Movement UK
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  1. As if having our own PM making sullen threats and pontifications wasn’t bad enough now George Osborne decides to make empty threats too.

    “I very much hope that Britain remains a member of the EU,….but in order that we can remain in the European Union, the EU must change.
    The British people are very disappointed with the EU and people have the feeling that too many decisions are made too far away in Brussels. Our citizens are asking themselves if Europe can really solve their most pressing problems and create jobs and prosperity.”

    Firstly may I say that he does not speak for ALL British people when he speaks.
    And secondly, where does this paranoid belief that all decisions are made in Brussels stem from anyway?
    Perhaps because Britain has persistently sat on the sidelines whinging and not been at the centre of debate and negotiation when it could and should have been. Of course one cannot have a say if one is too busy making snide comments on the outside and having tantrums.

    I agree in part with Mr Osborne, in that the EU does need to change. Radically in fact. It certainly has proved it has not adapted to our very changing world and this is clear since the Euro crisis began.
    However I do not think it very diplomatic nor bright for one country to dictate to the many, especially when that one country is also in much need of some change. Perhaps, a novel idea here, everyone could work together on that concept. You know, in Union as intended…..

    I dread a referendum, but if it means we can finally put an end to this bickering and have some intelligent balanced debate out there rather than emotive rhetoric and propaganda by the sceptics, then I say call a definite date, gloves off and lets get campaigning!

  2. As a European living in the Uk and who is an internal candidate for the EU a politica party here (articles 12(3), 17 of the TEU and 22 TEU), I am glad that there stil exits people with common sense in the UK able to debunk Cameron’s bravados

  3. It seem to me that there have been threats coming from from the EU. So are we saying that Cameron should just put a ring through his nose and be lead with the British public in to the Federal States of Europe?
    I am 58 and I can still remember casting my vote to join the Common Market. Never in my wildest dreams could I have ever envisaged what it would turn into. If only I, and many other Britons had know, I am sure the vote would have gone another way.
    No longer do I feel that the national government of my country is in charge. Daily I read stories of unellected Eurocrats preaching what Britain should and should not do. Or more to the point what it CAN and CANNOT do.
    A government is the voice of it’s people and it’s quite obvious that the British people don’t like what they see. What I see is a German dominated European country with France sitting on it’s right hand. I see a very undemocratic and massive federal government sitting in Brussels lording over the ‘states’ of Europe. And I weep for my country.

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