Monday

25th Mar 2019

Prepare for UK exit from EU, Asian bank warns

  • The UK may head for the EU exit door if it fails to win exemptions for the City (Photo: Valentina Pop)

The prospect of Britain leaving the European Union is increasingly likely according to a leaked strategy paper by banking giant Nomura.

The Asian bank, which is drawing up contingency plans for a "Brexit," said that "a referendum on EU membership without first securing significant concessions from EU partners would result in the UK leaving the European Union."

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

The paper, written by Alastair Newton, a one-time British diplomat and advisor to former prime minister Tony Blair, added that "the British government's response to the crisis of encouraging eurozone integration while looking for a looser UK relationship with the EU appears to be fanning the Eurosceptic flames."

The British Conservative party remains in a coalition with the pro-European Liberal Democrat party, but their agreement has been shaken following a public row over Liberal Democrat plans to reform the House of Lords, Britain's upper chamber of parliament.

Referring to this, the Nomura paper noted that "further concessions to the eurosceptics could split the ruling coalition, already subject to significant internal strains, and precipitate an early election to be followed, irrespective of the outcome, by a referendum."

The eurozone debt crisis has led to increasing euroscepticism among back-bench Conservative MPs, who are urging Prime Minister David Cameron to use potential changes on further integration to the EU Treaty to re-negotiate Britain's terms of membership.

Elsewhere, a sizeable minority of Tory MPs want an immediate "in/out" referendum.

A recent survey of party activists by the influential conservativehome.com website found that six in 10 Tory supporters favoured a coalition deal with the UK Independence party, which campaigns for Britain to leave the EU.

A so-called "Fresh Start" group of Conservative MPs, who were first elected in 2010, also released a report in June identifying priority policy areas to be repatriated.

Policies at the top of the eurosceptic shopping-list include exemptions from financial sector regulation and the restoration of the British opt-out from EU social policy, including directives on temporary agency workers and limitations on working time.

Meanwhile, an opinion poll for YouGov taken last month indicated that only 15 percetnt of Britons would vote to remain in the EU as it is, while 50 percent would vote to leave the EU if other countries refused to re-negotiate Britain's terms of membership.

Claiming that "it is only a matter of time, in our view, before crisis-related steps are agreed which necessitate treaty changes," the Nomura paper added that "the British government will almost certainly demand 'treaty change for treaty change' in an effort to repatriate powers."

Other European leaders have been reluctant to accede to British demands.

After failing to win support for exemptions for London's financial services sector from EU regulation at an EU crisis summit in December 2011, Cameron vetoed attempts to adopt the fiscal compact within the EU treaties.

In July, the UK government announced plans to conduct a detailed audit of the cost of EU legislation, with conclusions to be published in 2014, in a move widely seen as an attempt to defuse the issue.

Launching the plans, foreign secretary William Hague said Britain would remain in the Union, telling the House of Commons that "the government are committed to playing a leading role in the EU."

UK promises thorough analysis of EU by 2014

The UK government has announced it will undertake a wide-ranging study of the EU so that any statements it makes about 'meddlesome' Brussels may be in future be backed up by hard evidence.

Barroso condemns British "delight" at euro crisis

European Commission President Jose Barroso Tuesday launched an angry attack on British Conservative's in the European Parliament, accusing them of "taking delight" in the eurozone debt crisis.

News in Brief

  1. Orban vows more EU 'information campaigns'
  2. May 'effectively out of power', says Scottish leader
  3. May under pressure to resign over Brexit endgame
  4. Million march against Brexit, five million sign petition
  5. Italy first G7 country to sign China Belt and Road deal
  6. EU leaders at summit demand more effort on disinformation
  7. Report: Corbyn to meet May on Monday for Brexit talks
  8. Petition against Brexit attracts 2.4m signatures

Opinion

Catalan independence trial is widening Spain's divides

What is really needed is not the theatre of a rebellion trial, but a forensic examination of whether public funds were misused, and a process of dialogue and negotiation on how the Catalan peoples' right to self-determination can be satisfied.

Orban hosts Weber in Budapest for EPP showdown

The future of the Viktor Orban's Fidesz party inside the European Parliament's centre-right EPP political group hangs in the balance. On Tuesday, Orban and EPP chief Manfred Weber meet in Budapest in a final effort to iron out differences.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNew campaign: spot, capture and share Traces of North
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersLeading Nordic candidates go head-to-head in EU election debate
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNew Secretary General: Nordic co-operation must benefit everybody
  4. Platform for Peace and JusticeMEP Kati Piri: “Our red line on Turkey has been crossed”
  5. UNICEF2018 deadliest year yet for children in Syria as war enters 9th year
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic commitment to driving global gender equality
  7. International Partnership for Human RightsMeet your defender: Rasul Jafarov leading human rights defender from Azerbaijan
  8. UNICEFUNICEF Hosts MEPs in Jordan Ahead of Brussels Conference on the Future of Syria
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic talks on parental leave at the UN
  10. International Partnership for Human RightsTrial of Chechen prisoner of conscience and human rights activist Oyub Titiev continues.
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic food policy inspires India to be a sustainable superpower
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersMilestone for Nordic-Baltic e-ID

Latest News

  1. Romania presidency shatters EU line on Jerusalem
  2. The Spitzen process - a coup that was never accepted
  3. Russia and money laundering in Europe
  4. Italy takes China's new Silk Road to the heart of Europe
  5. What EU leaders agreed on climate - and what they mean
  6. Copyright and (another) new Brexit vote This WEEK
  7. EU avoids Brexit crash, sets new date for 12 April
  8. Campaigning commissioners blur the lines

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us