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

Brutality Eroding IS Financial Support

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper says IS's penchant for publicizing beheadings, other brutal forms of punishment hurts group’s bottom line More

Studies: Climate Change a Factor in Disasters in Syria, California

The studies point to the possibility of clear and present dangers from a threat often considered to be far in the future More

Video Afghan Refugees Complain of Harassment in Pakistan

Afghan officials and human rights organizations assert that Pakistani authorities are using deadly attack at school in Peshawar as pretext to push out Afghan refugees 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.
Kerry Seeks Assurances of Russian Non-Interference in Ukrainei
X
March 03, 2015 3:11 AM
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has told his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, that his country could face further consequences to what he called its “already strained economy” if Moscow does not fully comply with a cease-fire in Ukraine. The two met, on Monday, on the sidelines of a U.N. Human Rights Council meeting in Geneva, where Kerry outlined human rights violations in Russian-annexed Crimea and eastern Ukraine. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports from Geneva.
Video

Video Kerry Seeks Assurances of Russian Non-Interference in Ukraine

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has told his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, that his country could face further consequences to what he called its “already strained economy” if Moscow does not fully comply with a cease-fire in Ukraine. The two met, on Monday, on the sidelines of a U.N. Human Rights Council meeting in Geneva, where Kerry outlined human rights violations in Russian-annexed Crimea and eastern Ukraine. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports from Geneva.
Video

Video Smartphones May Help in Diagnosing HIV

Diagnosing infections such as HIV requires expensive clinical tests, making the procedure too costly for many poor patients or those living in remote areas. But a new technology called lab-on-a-chip may make the tests more accessible to many. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Refugees Complain of Harassment in Pakistan

Afghan officials have expressed concern over reports of a crackdown on Afghan refugees in Pakistan following the Peshawar school attack in December. Reports of mass arrests and police harassment coupled with fear of an uncertain future are making life difficult for a population that fled its homeland to escape war. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports from Islamabad.
Video

Video Ukrainian Volunteers Prepare to Defend Mariupol

Despite the ongoing ceasefire in Ukraine, soldiers in the city of Mariupol fear that pro-Russian separatists may be getting ready to attack. The separatists must take or encircle the city if they wish to gain land access to Crimea, which was annexed by Russia early last year. But Ukrainian forces, many of them volunteers, say they are determined to defend it. Patrick Wells reports from Mariupol.
Video

Video Moscow Restaurants Suffer in Bad Economy, Look for Opportunity

As low oil prices and Western sanctions force Russia's economy into recession, thousands of Moscow restaurants are expected to close their doors. Restaurant owners face rents tied to foreign currency, while rising food prices mean Russians are spending less when they dine out. One entrepreneur in Moscow has started a dinner kit delivery service for those who want to cook at home to save money but not skimp on quality. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video US, Cuba Report Progress in Latest Talks to Restore Ties

The United States and Cuba say they have made progress in the second round of talks on restoring diplomatic relations more than 50 years after breaking off ties. Delegations from both sides met in Washington on Friday to work on opening embassies in Havana and Washington and iron out key obstacles to historic change. VOA’s Mary Alice Salinas reports from the State Department.
Video

Video Presidential Hopefuls Battle for Conservative Hearts and Minds

One after another, presumptive Republican presidential contenders auditioned for conservative support this week at the Conservative Political Action Conference held outside Washington. The rhetoric was tough as a large field of potential candidates tried to woo conservative support with red-meat attacks on President Barack Obama and Democrats in Congress. VOA Political Columnist Jim Malone takes a look.
Video

Video NYC's Restaurant Week: An Economic Boom in Fine Dining

New Yorkers take pride in setting world trends — in fashion, the arts and fine dining. The city’s famous biannual Restaurant Week plays a significant role in a booming tourism industry that sustains 359,000 jobs and generates $61 billion in yearly revenue. VOA's Ramon Taylor reports.
Video

Video Brookhaven at Cutting Edge of US Energy Research

Issues like the Keystone XL pipeline, fracking and instability in the Middle East are driving debate in the U.S. about making America energy independent. Recently, the American Energy Innovation Council urged Congress and the White House to make expanded energy research a priority. One beneficiary of increased energy spending would be the Brookhaven National Lab, where clean, renewable, efficient energy is the goal. VOA's Bernard Shusman reports.
Video

Video Southern US Cities Preserve Civil Rights Heritage to Boost Tourism

There has been a surge of interest in the American civil rights movement of the 1950s and '60s, thanks in part to the Hollywood motion picture "Selma." Five decades later, communities in the South are embracing the dark chapters of their past with hopes of luring tourism dollars. VOA's Chris Simkins reports.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More