Sunday

19th Jan 2020

Report: UK referendum possible by summer 2016

  • British PM Cameron (r) will want to have talks for a "better deal" before German leader Merkel (l) is too busy with national elections. (Photo: Crown)

The UK could hold a referendum on EU membership as early as July 2016, The Guardian reported Monday evening (11 May).

The paper quoted a government source as saying that the “mood now is definitely to accelerate the process and give us the option of holding the referendum in 2016”.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 30-day free trial.

... or join as a group

During his election campaign, prime minister David Cameron had promised an in/out referendum by 2017 if he was re-elected.

The referendum will be preceded by negotiations to get a "better deal” in Europe for UK. The idea is that British voters can then decide, based on the results of the talks, if they want their country to stay in the EU, of which it has been a member since 1973.

One reason for having the referendum next year already is that his two most important interlocutors will be occupied with national politics in 2017.

Both France and Germany will hold elections that year, a factor that will likely shape how they many concessions they want to give London.

Cameron, for his part, has “already made calls” to other EU leaders.

The Guardian noted that a bill, which is needed to hold a referendum, could be passed by June 2016, making a referendum possible the next month, or in September 2016, after the summer break.

Scotland

Meanwhile, Cameron has all but ruled out another vote on Scottish independence, saying there “isn't going to be another referendum”.

Even though Scotland last year voted to remain in the UK, the Scottish National Party (SNP) claimed 56 of 59 Scottish seats in Thursday's election, putting the role of Scotland in the UK back at the top of the agenda.

SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon noted Monday that she is not planning a second referendum, but that Cameron doesn't have “any right to rule it out”.

“Whether there is another referendum or not is really down to what people in Scotland want – there can’t be another referendum unless people vote for it. I can’t impose it on Scotland if Scotland doesn’t want it”, Sturgeon said.

The two issues are connected.

One possible outcome of the in/out EU referendum, were the Brits to vote to vote “out”, could be that relatively pro-EU Scotland would want to leave the UK to remain in the EU.

Analysis

Waiting for Cameron

Both sides have something at stake. Cameron doesn't want to be the man who led the UK out of the EU and the EU would be severely diminished by a UK exit.

Cameron in a pickle over Scotland promises

British PM David Cameron is under fire from his own party and from the Labour opposition for having promised more powers to Scotland but being vague on similar devolution plans for England.

News in Brief

  1. 'No objection in principle' on Huawei cooperation, EU says
  2. French aircraft carrier goes to Middle East amid tensions
  3. EU suggests temporary ban on facial recognition
  4. EU industry cries foul on Chinese restrictions
  5. 'Devil in detail', EU warns on US-China trade deal
  6. Trump threatened EU-tariffs over Iran, Germany confirms
  7. EU trade commissioner warns UK of 'brinkmanship'
  8. Germany strikes coal phase-out deal

Boost for Right in post-Brexit EU parliament

The far-right Identity and Democracy will overtake the Greens as the fourth-largest party in the European Parliament on 1 February, after the UK's MEPs vacate their seats.

Opinion

Why EU minimum wage is actually bad idea for workers

As president of one of the largest trade union confederations in the EU, I see the need for good working conditions and decent pay in all member states - but an EU-wide minimum wage could be used to lower wages.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of Ministers40 years of experience have proven its point: Sustainable financing actually works
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic and Baltic ministers paving the way for 5G in the region
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersEarmarked paternity leave – an effective way to change norms
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Climate Action Weeks in December
  5. UNESDAUNESDA welcomes Nicholas Hodac as new Director General
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersBrussels welcomes Nordic culture

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us