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Thu Jan 24, 2013, 08:39 AM

U.K. Prime Minister Defends Decision to Seek E.U. Vote - "reform EU, not to retreat into isolation".

Prime Minister David Cameron of Britain on Thursday defended his decision to seek a referendum on his country’s membership in the European Union, saying his goal was to reform the 27-nation bloc, not to retreat into isolation.

“This is not about turning our backs on Europe, quite the opposite,” Mr. Cameron told an audience at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, ““It’s about how we make the case for a more competitive, open and flexible Europe, and secure the U.K.’s place within it.”

On Wednesday, Mr. Cameron pledged to hold a referendum on Britain’s European Union membership within five years, assuming his Conservative Party is re-elected in the next national election scheduled for 2015. The proposal met with deep skepticism elsewhere in the European Union, but Mr. Cameron’s party — which has long struggled over the question of Europe — welcomed it.

Mr. Cameron once again laid down Britain’s line in the sand on European integration, saying: “If you mean Europe has to become a political union, if there should be a country called Europe, I don’t agree.”

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/25/world/europe/cameron-defends-decision-to-seek-eu-vote.html

I think Cameron really wants the UK to stay in the EU, just a 'reformed' EU with perhaps special rules for the UK.

OTOH, many of his fellow Conservatives (not to mention members of UKIP) want the UK out of the EU once and for all and look at the referendum as a way to accomplish that. Time will tell whether this referendum gambit results in a 'reformed' EU or a more integrated EU without the UK.

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Reply U.K. Prime Minister Defends Decision to Seek E.U. Vote - "reform EU, not to retreat into isolation". (Original post)
pampango Jan 2013 OP
tama Jan 2013 #1
pampango Jan 2013 #2

Response to pampango (Original post)

Thu Jan 24, 2013, 08:54 AM

1. 2017

 

Lot can and will happen in four years. Main point is domestic, not to lose too many votes to UKIP in next elections. Which is the attention span of political parties.

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Response to pampango (Original post)

Thu Jan 24, 2013, 09:31 AM

2. Reaction to Cameron from Euclid Tsakalotos, Greek left-wing Syriza MP

Since 2008, inside and outside the eurozone, opposition to austerity policies has been labelled populist, in a cynical exercise to conflate the popular with populism. But it is successive British leaders who have raised populism with respect to the EU to a fine art. The dream of a Europe as a vast "free" market with limited social rights, or "a more flexible, adaptable and open European Union", has been the goal. Hollowing out democracy has been the means.

Greater integration implies a willingness to share sovereignty; the central question is whether this will be accompanied by the creation of a European public space and new democratic institutions. The UK prime minister's understanding of the "national interest" and his opposition to a two-speed Europe has nothing to do such democratic accountability.

European peoples in the south can vote for any government they want - as long as the policies of austerity remain untouched; the same policies, that is, which have led to such a spectacular failure in the UK. It is the opposition movements who are truly displaying "courage and conviction", but in order bring back an agenda of jobs, wages and pensions, and even more, to return some control over economic policy to ordinary people.

There is a democratic deficit within the EU. But David Cameron is on the side of those elites and financial markets that want to deepen that deficit still further.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-21140766

There are also reactions from conservatives in Germany, Finland and the Czech Republic; a French socialist; a Dutch correspondent and a Spanish social scientist.

From the French socialist MEP (Pervenche Beres):

Mr Cameron seems to forget that the EU is a union of freedom and a free market, not a union of markets or an open relationship.

By establishing a link between the results of the next general elections in 2015 and the potential organisation of an in/out referendum in 2017, he is trying to regain confidence among his own party, by arousing resentment against the EU in the British population.

The basis of the proposed referendum will be a future renegotiation of the relationship between the EU and the United Kingdom; does he really imagine that his country can have full access to the internal market without contributing to the European budget, and rejecting a common regulatory framework for the financial services which had a major responsibility for the current crisis?

We cannot afford this kind of "Europe on demand" project.

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