Prime Minister David Cameron today promised to hold a referendum on the UK’s position in the EU, if he is re-elected in the 2015 general elections. His much-awaited speech on Europe started off by paying homage to veterans of World War II and the Elysée Treaty, with addressing the agenda behind the EU, being one of the poignant moments.
Although established initially to prevent Europe being dragged back into primitive wars, the EU’s main-riding ambition nowadays is economic prosperity for all of the member states. In a time of growing economic affluence in the Far East, the Prime Minister asserted the need to protect British interests first, which includes the nation’s role in industry.
Europe’s contribution to trade and markets is expected to fall over the next two decades, owing to labour market restrictions and too many unnecessary regulations enacted by the EU. David Cameron stated that the EU is likely to break up if fundamental concerns over the Eurozone crisis, market competition, and the growing gap between the institution and its citizens, are not addressed.
Harsh austerity measures inflicted on nations like Greece, who are plagued by dire economic crises, more often than not are caricatured to chart the nations on a path towards economic stability, at the expense of the citizens’ welfare and living standards. The primary issue the Prime Minister pressed for was changes to the Treaty which reflect more of the present economic and political situation in the member states, rather than adhering to idealist and sometimes restrictive clauses.
The single market is at the heart of the EU agenda for Britain but there are still issues which need to be resolved in the energy and technology sector. David Cameron demanded more flexibility to be granted for the 10 member countries which are not members of the Eurozone because the market regulations in place in accordance to the EU’s constitution, impacts all of them nonetheless.
The memorandum is to be simple in design with an in and out option. It is to take into consideration the single market, which is important for businesses and the market at home, and is to take place after negotiations with the other states concerning the alterations.
It would not be entirely correct in stating that David Cameron is all for Britain exiting from the EU because he did draw in two examples, in the form of Norway and Switzerland, stating that following the nations’ very different economic models would not necessarily be the way forward; the two countries benefit from access to the single market despite not being a member state.
You can read the full speech here: EU Speech at Bloomberg.