News / Europe

Cameron Wants New Deal with Europe

Britain Wants New Relationship with Europei
X
January 23, 2013 8:50 PM
British Prime Minister David Cameron has announced plans to renegotiate Britain’s relationship with the rest of Europe, and to hold a referendum on it within five years -- if his party wins the next election. It's an idea Mr. Cameron has talked about for some time. But continental leaders are reluctant to provide the kinds of changes he wants and analysts say he may have embarked on a dangerous road. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.

Britain Wants New Relationship with Europe

Al Pessin
British Prime Minister David Cameron Wednesday announced plans to renegotiate Britain’s relationship with the rest of Europe, and to hold a referendum on it within five years.  But continental leaders are reluctant to provide the kinds of changes he wants.

In a long-awaited speech about Britain’s relationship with the European Union (EU), Prime Minister Cameron said he wants his country to stay in the union, but under new terms.

"I believe something very deeply - that Britain's national interest is best served in a flexible, adaptable and open European Union and that such a European Union is best with Britain in it," he said.

Britain's History with the EU

1973: Britain joins the European Community after two failed attempts.
 
1975: 67% of British voters choose to remain in the European Community
 
1990: Britain opts out of several provisions of the Schengen Agreement, which allows border-free travel among member countries.
 
1992: The Maastricht Treaty transforms the European Community into the European Union. Britain negotiates several opt-outs in regards to social, monetary and economic policy.
 
1997: British Prime Minister Tony Blair announces "five major tests" Britain needs to pass before joining the euro.
 
2002: Euro is put into circulation. Britain never holds a referendum on adopting the currency.
While much of Europe is moving toward closer integration, Britain has always been skeptical of that approach.  Years ago, it opted out of the common euro currency and the open borders treaty.  Many Britons resent regulations that come from EU headquarters in Brussels, and are concerned about giving the European Parliament and bureaucracy more power.

But the continent’s other major powers are reluctant to let Britain opt out of any more aspects of EU membership.  On Wednesday, France’s minister for European Affairs Bernard Cazeneuve spoke for many of his colleague’s on the continent.

The minister said the European Union needs to be strong, coherent and cohesive, and that Britain cannot treat it like an “a la carte” menu.

Domestically, Cameron also came under fire as he tried to chart a moderate course, even from his coalition partner and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg.

“My view is that years and years of uncertainty because of a protracted ill-defined renegotiation of our place in Europe is not in the national interest because it hits growth and jobs," he said.

Opposition leader Ed Miliband expressed his concerns during a raucous session of Parliament.

“He is going to put Britain through years of uncertainty and take a huge gamble with our economy," he said.

Cameron says the uncertainty is there anyway, and his approach will at least provide an end point for it.  The issue is expected to be a major part of the next British election campaign, expected in two years.

The prime minister made his plan under pressure from anti-Europe members of his ruling Conservative Party, and from a growing new party that wants Britain out of the EU.  To placate them, he is expected to seek to exempt Britain from some European Union rules on such things as workers’ rights, law enforcement and possibly some safety rules. 

But Europe expert Iain Begg at the London School of Economics calls those “level three” aspects of European integration.  And he is concerned that such issues, blown out of proportion, are risking Britain’s place in an economic and trade pact that it needs.

"I think it’d be damaging to Britain because being inside the big tent in this increasingly hostile global world is better than being on your own," he said.

And Begg notes that even if Cameron can make a new deal with the European Union, which is far from certain, British voters could reject it in the planned referendum.  He and other experts say referenda are very unpredictable, with people sometimes voting based on peripheral issues, like whether they like the prime minister or whether they agree or disagree on a minor point of the plan. 

Begg says there is a "considerable risk" that the process Prime Minister Cameron began Wednesday will eventually usher Britain out of the European Union.

You May Like

Scotland Vote Raises Questions of International Law

Experts say self-determination, as defined and protected by international law, confined narrowly to independence movements in process of de-colonization More

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

Conservationists hail ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015 More

Annual Military Exercise Takes on New Meaning for Ukraine Troops

Troops from 15 nations participating in annual event, 'Rapid Trident' in western Ukraine More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Russian Economy Reeling After New Western Sanctionsi
X
September 18, 2014 2:28 AM
A new wave of Western sanctions is hitting Russia’s economy hard. State-owned energy firms continue to bleed profits and Russia’s national currency plunged to a new low this week after the U.S. and the European Union announced new sanctions to punish Russia's aggressive stance in eastern Ukraine. But as Mil Arcega reports, the sanctions could also prove costly for European and American companies.
Video

Video Russian Economy Reeling After New Western Sanctions

A new wave of Western sanctions is hitting Russia’s economy hard. State-owned energy firms continue to bleed profits and Russia’s national currency plunged to a new low this week after the U.S. and the European Union announced new sanctions to punish Russia's aggressive stance in eastern Ukraine. But as Mil Arcega reports, the sanctions could also prove costly for European and American companies.
Video

Video Belgian Researchers Discover Way to Block Cancer Metastasis

Cancer remains one of the deadliest diseases, despite many new methods to combat it. Modern medicine has treatments to prevent the growth of primary tumor cells. But most cancer deaths are caused by metastasis, the stage when primary tumor cells change and move to other parts of the body. A team of Belgian scientists says it has found a way to prevent that process. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Mogadishu's Flood of Foreign Workers Leaves Somalis Out of Work

Unemployment and conflict has forced many young Somalians out of the country in search of a better life. But a newfound stability in the once-lawless nation has created hope — and jobs — which, some say, are too often being filled by foreigners. Abdulaziz Billow reports from Mogadishu.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.
Video

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

China says its has sentenced three men to death and one woman to life in prison for a deadly knife attack in March that left more than 30 dead and 140 injured. Beijing says Muslim militants from China's restive western region of Xinjiang carried out the attacks. Now, more than six months after the incident, residents in the city are still coping with the aftermath. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Kunming.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid