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

Israelis Quietly Expand Enclave in Palestinian District of Jerusalem

Estimated 500 settlers, armed or protected by paramilitary police, live in Silwan among 50,000 Palestinians More

Video US, Iran Face Similar Challenges in Syrian Fight Against IS

Both Washington, Tehran back fighters battling Islamic State militants in Iraq -- but in Syria they support opposing sides in country’s civil war More

China Boosts Efforts to Help Afghan, Regional Stability

Observers say China’s increased regional involvement are due to concerns that Afghan instability and the presence of anti-China militants in Pakistani border areas could fuel Xinjiang troubles 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.
After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rulesi
X
October 21, 2014 12:20 AM
European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.
Video

Video Young Nairobi Tech Innovator on 'Track' in Security Business

A 24-year-old technology innovator in Nairobi has invented a tracking device that monitors and secures cars. He has also come up with what he claims is the most robust audio-visual surveillance system yet. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from the Kenyan capital, his innovations are offering alternative security solutions.
Video

Video Latinas Converting to Islam for Identity, Structure

Latinos are one of the fastest growing groups in the Muslim religion. According to the Pew Research Center, about 6 percent of American Muslims are Latino. And a little more than half of new converts are female. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti travelled to Miami, Florida -- where two out of every three residents is Hispanic -- to learn more.
Video

Video Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fight

The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video South Korea Confronts Violence Within Military Ranks

Every able-bodied South Korean male between 18 and 35 must serve for 21 to 36 months in the country’s armed forces, depending upon the specific branch. For many, service is a rite of passage to manhood. But there are growing concerns that bullying and violence come along with the tradition. Reporter Jason Strother has more from Seoul.
Video

Video North Carolina Emerges as Key Election Battleground

U.S. congressional midterm elections will be held on November 4th and most political analysts give Republicans an excellent chance to win a majority in the U.S. Senate, which Democrats now control. So what are the issues driving voters in this congressional election year? VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone traveled to North Carolina, one of the most politically competitive states in the country, to find out.
Video

Video Comanche People Maintain Pride in Their Heritage

The Comanche (Indian nation) once were called the “Lords of the Plains,” with an empire that included half the land area of current day Texas, large parts of Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas and Colorado.The fierceness and battle prowess of these warriors on horseback delayed the settlement of most of West Texas for four decades. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Lawton, Oklahoma, that while their warrior days are over, the 15,000 members of the Comanche Nation remain a proud people.
Video

Video Turkey Campus Attacks Raise Islamic Radicalization Fears

Concerns are growing in Turkey of Islamic radicalization at some universities, after clashes between supporters of the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) or ISIS, and those opposed to the extremists. Pro-jihadist literature is on sale openly on the streets of Istanbul. Critics accuse the government of turning a blind eye to radicalism at home, while Kurds accuse the president of supporting IS - a charge strongly denied. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

All About America

AppleAndroid