One of the most interesting aspects of the 2015 Parliament will be the referendum on
European Union membership. Ted Heath, the Conservative Prime Minister in
1973 signed to take us into what was then called the Common Market. This was
the end of a process which had lasted about 10 years have been blocked by
General Charles de Gaulle of France.
Ted Heath signed on behalf of
Britain and we started our
membership which so far has lasted 42 years, give or take. You could say in many
respects the European Union as it was to become has brought stability to Europe. That being said, there are also negative aspects
which centre round loss of sovereignty of the current 28 member countries which
lead people to call for EU reform.
I am in favour of EU, which is why I believe that the continual growth of the EU has been detrimental to its security, both economically and strategically. Some people believe in what is called a ‘
United States of Europe’,
this would lead to loss of sovereignty with member parliaments being
effectively rubber stamps for EU legislation.
David Cameron will press ahead with the referendum by publishing the parliamentary bill, to satisfy is backbenchers who have been pretty vocal on their displeasure about how the EU has interacted with
Although, the Conservatives did take Britain
into Europe and section of the Party has
always been anti EU right from the start; and that hasn’t died down.
The Bill will no doubt be the centre piece of the Queen’s speech next week, David Cameron will be keeping his word to make sure that his final term as Prime Minister is as trouble free as possible, although, he plans controversial legislation on a range of issues. This Bill more or less guarantees him getting his programme through; the vote when it finally comes is scheduled to take place in 2017.
The Prime Minister will no doubt campaign for a majority to stay in, but his backbenchers won’t be whipped. The EU provokes strong emotions, so the opposition which will be Ukip, will face off against the Conservatives, Labour, Lib Dems and the SNP.
Cameron is not alone when calling for EU reform, another group called Open Europe think tank has been campaigning for major changes to the EU is backing his bid. This group seem to feel that he stands a good chance of success on EU negotiations. The EU has recently bent over backwards in the matter of
and their issue of threatening default on their debt, so there maybe wiggle
round. However, that being said, David Cameron must produce a package of
extensive reforms to justify his position that might not be so easy.
Any agreements will have to be signed off by Angela Merkel, the German Chancellor.
Some of the reforms being suggested are:
Restrictions on in-work benefits for EU migrants for four years
Safeguards for non-eurozone members in the EU’s single market – by allowing such countries to suspend “qualified majority voting” if a proposal impinges on their rights
A “red card” to allow national parliaments to club together to block new EU legislation
Amending the EU’s historic mission, enshrined in the treaty of
Rome, to foster an “ever closer union
among the peoples of Europe”
I would like to come back to my idea, that what is needed in the EU is an internal EU immigration policy, if reforms are to take place, piecemeal won’t cut it, it is essential that the founding principles of the EU are kept, but without a shift and change of focus, the EU will and has become unmanageable, effectively growth of enlargement has paralysed the organisation.
Greece is a good example of
how it can all go terribly wrong for a country when an economy falls out of
sync with the rest of Europe. The Euro sounds
good in principle, however in application it is too inflexible because the
currency only works well when everything is booming, the downturn hit many
countries in the EU very badly.
There is a school of thought that Britain if it leaves the EU would be much better off and able to trade easier and more successfully with the rest of the world, and in particularly the Commonwealth. It would seem that the cutting of ‘red tape’ should also figure rather highly on the list for David Cameron to campaign on.
Raoul Ruparel, Open Europe’s head of economic research, said:
“David Cameron will be squeezed between those who say no substantial reforms in Europe are possible and those who seek to set the bar so high that it is effectively code for exit before even trying to fundamentally reform the EU. He should ignore both camps and instead seek to balance the priorities of the
UK public, businesses
and his own party along with the achievability of the reforms in Europe.”
The problem is which ever way he turns, someone isn’t going to be happy, and there isn’t a middle ground. Unless David Cameron can get control of Britain’s borders, and refuse entry unless conditions are met, he stands a good chance of having a continual running sore through-out his last term in Office as Prime Minister.
An internal EU immigration policy solves many problems.
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University