Sunday

28th Aug 2016

UK is EU's 'special' case, Barroso says

  • Barroso - the UK is a 'special' case in Europe (Photo: ec.europa.eu)

The UK is Europe's "special" case, and EU leaders should find ways to accommodate its "specificity", Jose Manuel Barroso has said.

In a speech at the Humboldt university in Berlin on Thursday (8 May) where he set out his legacy and thoughts for the EU's future, the outgoing European Commission President stated that "for historical, geopolitical and economic reasons the case of the UK may be seen as a special one".

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

"I passionately believe that Europe is stronger with the UK as its member, and that the UK is stronger as a member of the European Union than on its own."

But he indicated that the package of exemptions and opt-outs from EU policies secured by the UK could not be made available for other countries.

"We can, and should, find ways to cater to the UK's specificity, inasmuch as this does not threaten the union's overall coherence," Barroso said.

As well as being outside the Schengen passport-free area and holding the right to opt-out of a range of EU justice and home affairs policies, the UK is one of two countries to have an opt-out from the euro.

It has also indicated that, along with a handful of other countries outside the eurozone, it will stay outside the bloc's newly constructed banking union framework to be supervised by the European Central Bank. It is not a member of the EU's bailout fund and was the only country to oppose the Angela Merkel-inspired fiscal compact treaty on debt and deficit levels.

Barroso's remarks may encourage prime minister David Cameron who has promised to renegotiate his country's EU membership terms followed by an 'in/out' referendum if his Conservative party wins next year's general election.

The UK independence party, which calls for the UK to leave the EU, is narrowly ahead of the opposition Labour party, according to polls ahead of the European elections in a fortnight.

Barroso will leave the EU executive in autumn after 10 years as its chief.

The bloc's tortured attempts to ratify the Lisbon treaty following the collapse of the EU constitution dominated his first term in office.

The overhaul of the EU's banking legislation and economic governance rules, and austerity-heavy response to the eurozone debt crisis, were the hallmarks of his second five years.

Italy earthquake is test for Renzi

Italian prime minister is expected to present a quick reconstruction plan and request more budget flexibility from the EU after this week's tragic earthquake.

News in Brief

  1. Hungary plans to reinforce border fence against migrants
  2. France's highest court suspends burkini ban
  3. Greeks paid €1bn more in taxes in June
  4. Greek minister denounces EU letter on former statistics chief
  5. Turks seeking asylum in Greece may cause diplomatic row
  6. Merkel becomes digital resident of Estonia
  7. Report: VW will compensate US dealers with €1bln
  8. EU mulls making Google pay news media for content

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. GoogleBrussels - home of beer, fries, chocolate and Google’s Public Policy Team - follow @GoogleBrussels
  2. HuaweiSeeds for the Future Programme to Bring Students from 50 countries to China for Much-Needed ICT Training
  3. EFASpain is not a democratic state. EFA expresses its solidarity to Arnaldo Otegi and EH Bildu
  4. UNICEFBoko Haram Violence in Lake Chad Region Leaves Children Displaced and Trapped
  5. HuaweiMaking Cities Smarter and Safer
  6. GoogleHow Google Makes Connections More Secure For Users
  7. EGBAThe EU Court of Justice Confirms the Application of Proportionality in Assessing Gambling Laws
  8. World VisionThe EU and Member States Must Not Use Overseas Aid for Promoting EU Interests
  9. Dialogue PlatformInterview: "There is a witch hunt against the Gulen Movement in Turkey"
  10. ACCAACCA Calls for ‘Future Looking’ Integrated Reporting Culture With IIRC and IAAER
  11. EURidNominate Your Favourite .eu or .ею Website for the .EU Web Awards 2016 Today!
  12. Dialogue PlatformAn Interview on Gulen Movement & Recent Coup Attempt in Turkey