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

Mali's Female Basketball Players Rebound After Islamist Occupation

Islamist extremists ruled northern Mali for most of 2012, imposing strict Sharia law, and now some 18 months later, the region is slowly getting back on its feet More

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

Many Chinese-made products go unsold, for now, with numerous Vietnamese consumers still angry over recent dispute More

Koreas Mark 61st Anniversary of War Armistice

Muted observances on both sides of heavily-armed Demilitarized Zone that separates two decades-long enemies 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.
Students in Business for Themselvesi
X
Mike O'Sullivan
July 26, 2014 11:04 AM
They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Not Even Monks Spared From Thailand’s Junta-Backed Morality Push

With Thailand’s military government firmly in control after May’s bloodless coup, authorities are carrying out plans they say are aimed at restoring discipline, morality and patriotism to all Thais. The measures include a crackdown on illegal gambling, education reforms to promote students’ moral development, and a new 24-hour phone hotline for citizens to report misbehaving monks. Steve Sandford reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Virtual Program Teaches Farming Skills

In a fast-changing world beset by unpredictable climate conditions, farmers cannot afford to ignore new technology. Researchers in Australia are developing an online virtual world program to share information about climate change and more sustainable farming techniques for sugar cane growers. As VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports, the idea is to create a wider support network for farmers.
Video

Video Airline Expert: Missile will Show Signature on Debris

The debris field from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is spread over a 21-kilometer radius in eastern Ukraine. It is expected to take investigators months to sort through the airplane pieces to learn about the missile that brought down the jetliner and who fired it. VOAs Carolyn Presutti explains how this work will be done.
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

AppleAndroid