Monday

19th Aug 2019

UK seeks Nordic support on EU reform

  • George Osborne is hoping to win support for the UK's EU reform plans from its Scandinavian neighbours. (Photo: consilium.europa.eu)

UK finance minister George Osborne will kick off his government’s bid to reform its EU membership terms on a tour of Sweden and Denmark on Monday (24 August), promising that the UK’s reform agenda will also benefit them.

Osborne, who is PM David Cameron’s closest ally in government and a likely replacement when the prime minister steps down ahead of the next general election in 2020, will meet with Swedish prime minister Stefan Loefven and Denmark’s premier Lars Loekke Rasmussen, as well as foreign and finance ministers.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

He also met with Finland’s finance minister Alexander Stubb on Sunday.

Osborne will tell counterparts the UK hopes to “reform the EU so its works for all its citizens,” according to a statement released by the treasury office.

“We are determined to deliver a new settlement for Europe that works for everyone within it", he will say.

Having claimed an election victory in May which gave his Conservative party an outright majority, Cameron swiftly announced plans to hold an in/out referendum on EU membership by the end of 2017.

At an EU summit in June, he set out a list of demands, including guarantees that decision-making on the EU’s single market will not be dominated by the 19 eurozone countries; curbs on access to welfare benefits for EU migrants; and an opt-out from the preamble to EU treaties which talks of moving towards “ever closer Union”.

Like the UK, Sweden and Denmark are outside the eurozone and have no plans to join the currency bloc any time soon.

Both countries are also viewed as traditional allies of the UK in European affairs, being more sceptical of European integration, and voting with the UK on EU budget reform.

Meanwhile, the domestic battle over the UK’s EU status will begin in earnest next month.

The No campaign - likely to be dominated by eurosceptic Conservatives and Ukip - is expected to formally launch in the coming weeks, having amassed a war chest of over £7 million (€9 million), mainly from Conservative donors.

The group is likely to be led by Matthew Elliott, a former aide to Conservative MEP Timothy Kirkhope.

Elliott previously ran eurosceptic organisations such as Business for Britain and the Taxpayers’ Alliance.

The government’s EU referendum bill will also face the report stage in the UK parliament this autumn, where it is likely to be amended by both the government and opposition parties.

UK referendum rules could 'hobble' government

Preventing ministers from carrying out EU-related business in the run-up to the UK’s EU referendum could "hobble" the government, a top British official says.

EU ends silence on Hong Kong protests

The EU, in league with Canada, has spoken out on the Hong Kong protests after months of silence in what one expert called "a clear expression of support for the protesters".

Exclusive

Selmayr did not keep formal records of lobby meetings

The German former secretary-general of the European Commission held some 21 meetings which were registered in the lobby register. But no documents appeared to exist summarising what was said.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNESDAUNESDA reduces added sugars 11.9% between 2015-2017
  2. International Partnership for Human RightsEU-Uzbekistan Human Rights Dialogue: EU to raise key fundamental rights issues
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNo evidence that social media are harmful to young people
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersCanada to host the joint Nordic cultural initiative 2021
  5. Vote for the EU Sutainable Energy AwardsCast your vote for your favourite EUSEW Award finalist. You choose the winner of 2019 Citizen’s Award.
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersEducation gets refugees into work
  7. Counter BalanceSign the petition to help reform the EU’s Bank
  8. UNICEFChild rights organisations encourage candidates for EU elections to become Child Rights Champions
  9. UNESDAUNESDA Outlines 2019-2024 Aspirations: Sustainability, Responsibility, Competitiveness
  10. Counter BalanceRecord citizens’ input to EU bank’s consultation calls on EIB to abandon fossil fuels
  11. International Partnership for Human RightsAnnual EU-Turkmenistan Human Rights Dialogue takes place in Ashgabat
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersNew campaign: spot, capture and share Traces of North

Latest News

  1. EU ends silence on Hong Kong protests
  2. Is Salvini closing just harbours or also the rule of law?
  3. No-deal Brexit would seriously harm UK, leaked paper says
  4. Selmayr did not keep formal records of lobby meetings
  5. EU asked to solve migrant rescue deadlock
  6. Internal EU paper: Second Brexit vote was no longer 'distant dream'
  7. EU has 'zero incentive' to break open 'trilogue' deals
  8. Denmark plans import ban on EU-approved pesticide

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us