British Prime Minister David Cameron announced plans for a referendum on EU membership during his speech in central London this morning. He noted that public misconception and disillusionment is about remaining member of the EU is at an all-time high and claimed that should he be re-elected he would ask British citizens if they want to remain a member of the EU or if they would like to leave the union and chart their own path.
Cameron insisted that he is not a British isolationist, but would like for the UK to revisit and renegotiate terms with the EU and that the final say on membership lies within the people. He recognized that the current terms are very static and that the EU needs to become more flexible. He voiced his wish for a EU which will adapt to modern times and not remain hindered by treaties from a Europe which does not exist anymore.
Furthermore Cameron said that the Eurozone debt crisis should force policy makers and politicians to come together and draft a new EU treaty which the UK would support and shape. He said that the UK would support a modern EU and would like to be part of a new union, but that the UK will not join the single currency union and remain independent.
The UK is currently the sole defender of capitalism and despite its strong European allies emerged as the White Knight in Shining Armor to block the implementation of a financial transaction tax proposed by France and Germany. Germany later retreated from its position and stopped support for the FTT. We need more members like the UK in order to reshape the EU and make it a modern union which will promote economic stability and become a clean energy hub for the world.
Cameron’s speech drew immense criticism from the socialist currently in a majority role in the European Parliament. MP’s claimed that Cameron is playing a dangerous game which is counterproductive to the EU. His critics’ claim that the speech was directed more on domestic issues and that a restructuring of the EU is not realistic. Given that all negative remarks towards Cameron’s speech have been made by socialists gives more credibility to the necessary changes for the EU.
The greatest degree of opposition came as expected from France after French Foreign Minister Fabius warned of the negative consequences from a UK withdrawal for the EU as well as for the UK. German Foreign Minister Westerwelle stated that Germany wants the UK to remain in the EU as a vital member, but that the UK must oblige by all rules and cannot be allowed to make its own rules. All members need to accept all rules in order for the EU to function. He did not comment on UK calls for a renegotiation of the treaty terms.
Cameron said that his first priority is to renegotiate the terms of the treaty and not to leave the union. The British public grows more uneasy about EU membership under current terms and Cameron promised a referendum to the public should he be re-elected. He also noted his understanding that European partners are frustrated by the UK’s position on membership and asked them to work with the UK in order to create a better EU.