Tuesday

23rd Jul 2019

Britain 'perfectly entitled' to demand new EU terms - Cameron

Britain is "perfectly entitled" to demand changes to its EU membership, Prime Minister David Cameron has said as he sets the stage for the country's latest confrontation with other EU leaders.

Speaking on the BBC's Andrew Marr programme on Sunday (6 January), Cameron said that treaty reforms on the governance of the eurozone would open the door for Britain.

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

"What's happening in Europe right now is massive change being driven by the existence of the euro. The countries of the euro, they have got to change to make their currency work", he said.

He added that: "As they need to change, what that means is they are changing the nature of the organisation to which we belong. And thus we are perfectly entitled – and not just entitled but actually enabled, because they need changes – to ask for some changes ourselves."

Cameron is preparing the ground for a major speech setting out his negotiating strategy later in January. Although the Prime Minister is anxious to avoid a straight 'in/out' referendum on EU membership, he has come under pressure from his Conservative party prompted by rising euroscepticism following the financial crisis as well a rise in support for the UK Independence party. Recent opinion polls indicate that Britons favour leaving the EU by a 51-40 margin.

In recent months he has consistently maintained that any talks to revise the EU treaties to increase the integration of the eurozone could be used to re-write Britain's terms of membership.

However, Nick Clegg, Cameron's Deputy and the leader of the Tories' coalition partners, the traditionally pro-European Liberal Democrats, opposes a referendum.

Meanwhile, former cabinet minister and EU Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson described Cameron's tactics as "economic insanity" in a column in the Guardian.

"The signal it sends to the world is that we are on our way out of the European single market and that those who invest in Britain in order to trade in that market should think again," he said.

Although Britain has the power to block any treaty reforms for the eurozone, any changes to its own status would also require the approval of 26 other member states. Cameron's demands are likely to include exemptions for the City of London from EU financial regulation and an opt-out from social policy legislation.

In December 2011 the Tory leader exasperated other leaders by refusing to allow them to incorporate the Berlin-inspired fiscal compact treaty within the EU treaties after failing to win the promise of concessions for the City of London.

But although Britain's tactics have angered some other member states, it continues to have allies. Germany pointedly did not let London be isolated in recent EU budget negotiations.

For his part, European Council President Herman van Rompuy told the UK press that leaving the bloc would be like watching "a friend walking off into the desert".

Cameron has already made it clear that Britain will not sign up to the proposed banking union legislation. In October his Home Secretary, Theresa May, announced that Britain would exercise its right under the Lisbon Treaty to opt-out of EU justice and home affairs legislation.

US warns Britain on EU referendum

The Obama administration has warned Britain against sidelining itself in the EU as Prime Minister Cameron comes under increasing pressure to hold a membership referendum.

News in Brief

  1. UK foreign office minister quits ahead of Johnson as PM
  2. AKK to boost Bundeswehr budget to Nato target
  3. Police arrest 25 after Polish LGBT-march attack
  4. Ukrainian president's party tops parliament election
  5. EU interior ministers to meet in Paris on migration
  6. Schinas nominated as Greek commissioner
  7. Sea-Watch captain hopes for change in EU migrant rules
  8. Russia willing to join EU payment scheme on Iran deal

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. As Johnson set to become PM, ministers pledge to resign
  2. Poland's PiS prepares 'failsafe' for October election
  3. Abortion Wars
  4. EU goes on holiday as new UK PM arrives This WEEK
  5. Survey: Half of EU staff 'don't know' ethics rules
  6. Von der Leyen signals soft touch on migrants, rule of law
  7. Timmermans: von der Leyen will be tough on rule of law
  8. Timmermans trolls 'idiot' Brexit negotiators

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us