Monday, 21 January 2013

What kind of Europe do you want?

As the PM gears up for his postponed big speech on Britains future relationship with Europe I am keen to ask the thousands of regular blog followers what kind of Europe they would like to see?
Europe is changing and we need to decide in this country what role we wish to take in the new Europe.
Most of those who want to keep the status quo are Liberal Democrat or possibly Labour. I do not want to leave Europe, but I do want a new relationship.
The old phrase "In Europe, just not run by Europe" rings true.
Certainly if the EU heads to ever greater union and ever greater soveriengty loss for Britain then I fear we would be left with little choice.

As Liam Fox MP put it on Sunday on TV: "I don’t want to be part of ever-closer union, I don’t want to be European first and British second.”

The diplomatic background to this speech is that:
i). Our American cousins are a little anxious:  the Obama administration decided to give the British public an ill-judged, meddlesome lecture on the EU, warning David Cameron against holding a referendum on loosening this country’s ties with Europe. Philip Gordon, America’s assistant secretary for European affairs, was acting out of pure Washington self-interest when he said Britain needed ‘a strong voice in the EU’.
ii). The Germans had a visiting delegation of MPs here recently and they declared that a UK referendum was a high-risk option that might paralyse Europe and end in economic disaster for Britain.
iii). Meanwhile Mr Barrosso, the renowned opponent of referendums, chose the day after Eurozone unemployment hit a record high of 19million to state that "the worst is over".

For my part I accept that we must monitor where the integrated Euro based EU is going before deciding our own direction. I am strongly in favour of the single market, but reform of regional spending, and the working time directive, are two early candidates for repatriation. Other key issues will be limiting residency rights to those with a job or other means of support.
One thing is clear: we need terms of membership very different from Britain’s current situation.


  1. I’d have to admit, I was a keen Europhile. But my interest is waning.

    Jeez, I even thought we should have joined the Euro, I was totally wrong on that.

    I once had a conversation with a young German student on why the UK was so euroskeptic. I explained about our past, about the empire, and how we have lots of links to the world, other than in Europe. I think it dawned on my then, that we didn’t really fit into this Euro club.

    So what kind of Europe do I want?

    Rewind back to the conditioned of entry – a trading arrangement with other countries - no more than that.

    I have to say, Farage is making more sense than the PM on Europe.

    I’m floating voter, with no political allegiances either way. Will I vote UKIP at the next election, quite possibly? The PM needs to give a referendum before the next election.

    Personally, I don’t agree with the naysayers on us leaving the EU, but it isn’t without risk. I don’t care what the US thinks; they don’t care what we think anyway.

    I think the EU needs us far more then we need them to be honest.

  2. You're right that we need a completely new relationship with the EU - and that can only be done by leaving the EU. We need to act on Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty before we can do anything - that requires us to give notice of leaving and from there we can renegotiate terms of membership. To my mind, that will never happen for the UK as a single country. If the other non-Eurozone countries were to join us, then there might be hope.
    For me, only a full exit will work, followed by bold national leadership to roll back the proliferation of EU rules and regulations in all areas - business regulation, City regulation, immigration, human rights etc.
    If Mr Cameron promises an in/out referendum after the next election, I'm afraid that holds no water with me - there's a good chance the Tories won't win the next election and a referendum won't happen. We don't need a pathetic compromise like the 45p tax rate - we need bold leadership for the good of the country.
    If we get a referendum after the next election, and Cameron champions the "In" vote and loses, where, with fixed term parliaments, does that leave us? A government we can't get rid of with a mandate to negotiate an exit it doesn't want? The referendum must come in this parliament, or on election day at the very latest.

  3. Absolutely with you on this one. I found a story by Lord Berkeley which I shared "Does Europe want Germany to run all its railways?" (his words). Energised debate follows. It led to me to post this: " "We are now in a world where multi-national corporations are bigger than some countries (another poster).". On that logic (in which there is considerable truth) those very same corporations can outflank the EU. Britain's primary trading partners need to be across the seas to the Americas and the Commonwealth. If we managed all that in a far more tecnologically primitive age, why we cannot now beats me. It is down to national mindset and there is no doubt that since the 1970s, something has gone wrong here. The nation has become lazy: no snow today but the schools are closed again". Earlier in the thread I repeated the fairly well worn mantra that we joined a common market not a federal Europe. All for the former, no way the latter. Bad idea and bad practice as recent years have shown.