Wednesday, 23 January 2013

UK-EU: '' D. Cameron's speech'': Europe á la Carte: The Impossible Mission

British Prime Minister David Cameron has finally given his long-awaited speech on the European Union in London today. British Prime Minister David Cameron on Wednesday said he would hold a referendum on Britain's EU membership, if his Conservative Party wins the next election, expected in 2015.

"It is time for the British people to have their say. It is time for us to settle this question about Britain and Europe," Cameron said in a long-awaited speech on the future of Britain-EU relations.
"Disillusionment" with the EU is at "an all-time high," Cameron said. "That's why I am in favor of a referendum."

But British Prime Minister David Cameron's speech is more of ''blackmail'' than a ''reform's quest''. He pledges a referendum on EU if he fails to renegotiate Britain's relationship with the EU. If  EU leaders do satisfy his egostistical plan, then there will be no referendum. In both cases, David Cameron's pledge on EU referendum remains a big ''IF''...everything lies on the outcome of the next general election.

The PM stressed there was widespread frustration with a “rigid and cumbersome” union that has cut living standards and enforced austerity throughout the continent. Cameron described an ever-widening gap between the citizens of Europe and an uncompromising leadership.

Despite Cameron's assertive tone, anti-European sentiment within the British population appears to be diminishing, especially among 18 to 34 year old, a new poll has found.
The survey -- commissioned by Britain's Fabian Society, conducted by pollster YouGov -- found that two-thirds of Brits within that age group would vote in favor of their country remaining in the EU if it were put up to a vote in a referendum. The reverse held true for those over the age of 60, a segment of the population in which two-thirds believe the country should leave the European political bloc.

The pollster found that the reason for the divide in thinking about the EU is personal experience. Only 19 percent of young Britons say that they have not profited from the Europe, whereas 51 percent of those over 60 make that claim. It is believed that the Labour Party will win thr next general election....if that happens, then, David Cameron's promise of referendum on EU will be washed away with him.

Calls for a referendum on ''Britain in or out'' are absurd. It will produce closure when openness is most welcome. A means must be found to sustain free and fair trade in Europe as a whole without infringing national sovereignty that electorates will not stand for it.

Reopening the treaty, however, is a political minefield. Other EU capitals have, for the moment in any case, gone cold on the idea. Top EU officials have voiced strong doubts about reopening the EU treaties to retool Europe after years of debt crisis, further complicating Cameron's strategy, whcih hinges on renegotiating the Lison treaty in order to secure concessions for Britain. David Cameron's quest for a new deal for Britain in Europe by clawing back powers from Brussels could cause the EU to fall apart quickly and inflict immense damage on the single market.

Few policy-makers in the EU would be willing to do Cameron any favours, resulting in an enfeebled, lonelier Britain, on the other hand. French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius reacted on David Cameron's speech. He said : ''leaving the EU would be dangerous for the UK''.  “You join the [football] club, but once you are in you can’t say that you want to play rugby,” said Fabius, dismissing Cameron’s reform ideas as a push for Europe à la Carte''.

David Cameron recognizes that it would not be "right for Britain" to leave the EU entirely. Britain is perfectly entitled to ask for changes to its relation with EU, particularly in light of the fact that the EU is changing the nature of the organization. In exchange for greater European integration, Cameron believes that Britain should be allowed to take back some powers from the EU.

In fact, the other EU leaders want to avoid treaty change as it could result in years of gruelling negotiations and open a pandora's box of competing claims. From Brussels to Berlin, Dublin to Paris, EU leaders cast doubt on whether a major revision of the treaty – essential to Cameron's strategy – would actually take place. They argue that EU states could not agree on what they wanted to change in the treaty, so the prospect of a renegotiation is remote.

''At this stage of the debate we don't need as much treaty change as people think," said Van Rompuy, the full time president of European Council. "For those ideas for where treaty change is needed there is simply no consensus. So the possibility of having treaty changes in the near future or present are not very high.

This begs the questions: will EU leaders have ''change of heart'' and then play ball with British Prime Minister David Cameron's quest? If the Conservative Party wins, which is unlikely, will David Cameron change his mind( it happens a lot with politicians) or campaign for the UK to stay in EU?. Will Britain be ''Great Britain'' if it pulls out completely from the European Union after the referendum?

For now, we all know for sure where David Cameron stands. It will certainly be a challenge to convince EU leaders to play ball.

By Guylain Gustave Moke
Political Analyst/Writer
Investigative Journalist

Photo-Credit: Wikipédia