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

    US, Allies Discuss Next Steps in Islamic State Fight

    Meeting comes a day after US Navy SEAL was killed while fighting Islamic State forces in northern Iraq

    In China, Traditional Banks Fight Challenge From Internet Firms

    Internet companies lent more than $150 billion to customers in 2015, which is an extremely small amount compared to the much larger lending by commercial banks last year

    Trump Faces Tough Presidential Odds Against Clinton

    Numerous national election surveys show former secretary of state defeating presumptive Republican nominee with tough talk to halt illegal immigration and temporarily block Muslims from entering country

    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.
    Press Freedom in Myanmar Fragile, Limitedi
    X
    Katie Arnold
    May 04, 2016 12:31 PM
    As Myanmar begins a new era with a democratically elected government, many issues of the past confront the new leadership. Among them is press freedom in a country where journalists have been routinely harassed or jailed.
    Video

    Video Press Freedom in Myanmar Fragile, Limited

    As Myanmar begins a new era with a democratically elected government, many issues of the past confront the new leadership. Among them is press freedom in a country where journalists have been routinely harassed or jailed.
    Video

    Video Taliban Threats Force Messi Fan to Leave Afghanistan

    A young Afghan boy, who recently received autographed shirts and a football from his soccer hero Lionel Messi, has fled his country due to safety concerns. He and his family are now taking refuge in neighboring Pakistan. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from Islamabad.
    Video

    Video Major Rubbish Burning Experiment Captures Destructive Greenhouse Gases

    The world’s first test to capture environmentally harmful carbon dioxide gases from the fumes of burning rubbish took place recently in Oslo, Norway. The successful experiment at the city's main incinerator plant, showcased a method for capturing most of the carbon dioxide. VOA’s Deborah Block has more.
    Video

    Video EU Visa Block Threatens To Derail EU-Turkey Migrant Deal

    Turkish citizens could soon benefit from visa-free travel to Europe as part of the recent deal between the EU and Ankara to stem the flow of refugees. In return, Turkey has pledged to keep the migrants on Turkish soil and crack down on those who are smuggling them. Brussels is set to publish its latest progress report Wednesday — but as Henry Ridgwell reports from London, many EU lawmakers are threatening to veto the deal over human rights concerns.
    Video

    Video Tensions Rising Ahead of South China Sea Ruling

    As the Philippines awaits an international arbitration ruling on a challenge to China's claims to nearly all of the South China Sea, it is already becoming clear that regardless of which way the decision goes, the dispute is intensifying. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
    Video

    Video Painting Captures President Lincoln Assassination Aftermath

    A newly restored painting captures the moments following President Abraham Lincoln’s assassination in 1865. It was recently unveiled at Ford’s Theatre in Washington, where America’s 16th president was shot. It is the only known painting by an eyewitness that captures the horror of that fateful night. VOA’s Julie Taboh tells us more about the painting and what it took to restore it to its original condition.
    Video

    Video Elephant Summit Results in $5M in Pledges, Presidential Support

    Attended and supported by three African presidents, a three-day anti-poaching summit has concluded in Kenya, resulting in $5 million in pledges and a united message to the world that elephants are worth more alive than dead. The summit culminated at the Nairobi National Park with the largest ivory burn in history. VOA’s Jill Craig attended the summit and has this report about the outcomes.
    Video

    Video Displaced By War, Syrian Artist Finds Inspiration Abroad

    Saudi-born Syrian painter Mohammad Zaza is among the millions who fled their home for an uncertain future after Syria's civil war broke out. Since fleeing Syria, Zaza has lived in Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan and now Turkey where his latest exhibition, “Earth is Blue like an Orange,” opened in Istanbul. He spoke with VOA about how being displaced by the Syrian civil war has affected the country's artists.
    Video

    Video Ethiopia’s Drought Takes Toll on Children

    Ethiopia is dealing with its worst drought in decades, thanks to El Nino weather patterns. An estimated 10 million people urgently need food aid. Six million of them are children, whose development may be compromised without sufficient help, Marthe van der Wolf reports for VOA from the Metahara district.
    Video

    Video Little Havana - a Slice of Cuban Culture in Florida

    Hispanic culture permeates everything in Miami’s Little Havana area: elderly men playing dominoes as they discuss politics, cigar rollers deep at work, or Cuban exiles talking with presidential candidates at a Cuban coffee window. With the recent rapprochement between Cuba and United States, one can only expect stronger ties between South Florida and Cuba.
    Video

    Video California Republicans Weigh Presidential Choices Amid Protests

    Republican presidential candidates have been wooing local party leaders in California, a state that could be decisive in selecting the party's nominee for U.S. president. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports delegates to the California party convention have been evaluating choices, while front-runner Donald Trump drew hundreds of raucous protesters Friday.
    Video

    Video ‘The Lights of Africa’ - Through the Eyes of 54 Artists

    An exhibition bringing together the work of 54 African artists, one from each country, is touring the continent after debuting at COP21 in Paris. Called "Lumières d'Afrique," the show centers on access to electricity and, more figuratively, ideas that enlighten. Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, the exhibition's first stop.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora