Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Referendum welcome but Cameron's EU strategy risks embarrassment of failure

The national debate on Britain's future relationship with the European Union must step up a gear following David Cameron's speech this morning.

While doubts remain over whether the Prime Minister will both be in office and able to deliver renegotiation and a referendum after the next election, the proposition that there will be a definitive test of public opinion on EU membership within the next few years cannot be dismissed.

Pro-democracy campaigners must now step up their efforts to rebut the disingenuous arguments being made by groups such as Business for New Europe, the Centre for British Influence in Europe, the European Movement and others, particularly in relation to trade, jobs and foreign inward investment.

One example is the scaremongering by the pro-Brussels lobby that, if the UK were to decouple from political centralisation, we would be locked out of the EU Single Market, have to pay high trade tariffs and, as a consequence, three million jobs would be put at risk.

In reality, especially given the trade surplus the EU enjoys with the UK, it's absurd to imagine that Britain could not negotiate free access to the Single Market in the same way as Switzerland, Norway and many other non-EU countries. 

Responding to the Prime Minister's speech, Democracy Movement director Stuart Coster commented:

"David Cameron's commitment today to an in/out EU referendum in 2017 is a welcome step forward.
"However, securing significant powers back from the EU via negotiation from within simply isn't feasible because it would require the agreement of 26 other member governments who show no signs of subscribing to David Cameron's vision of the EU's future.

"The true choice is whether to be in today's EU lock, stock and barrel, or to seek the new, more flexible, more democratic relationship David Cameron rhetorically supports by employing Article 50 of the EU treaty and notifying Brussels that we plan to exit the EU's structures.

"Holding out the prospect of something other than a 'status-quo-or-go' EU referendum risks the Prime Minister having to admit embarrassing failure."

"The most indefensible referendum position is sadly the one Labour leader Ed Miliband is adopting: that people shouldn't even be permitted to vote on Britain's relationship with the EU in case we vote to leave. The words of someone who has neither faith in his case for EU membership nor respect for democracy."


Jason Barker. said...

How about getting up a petition to demand an earlier referendum to take place within the first half of 2014.

For David Cameron to be a man and grant his pledge on a free and fair referendum whilst he is stil in office.

Jason Barker said...

David Campbell-Bannerman's article
is really another ‘In Europe but not run by Europe’ attempt by the Tories. People are not to be fooled this time.

All the more to strike up a petition which incidentally can only be started from a non-political party.

"In/Out Referendum before Next Election"