23rd Oct 2016

UK keen to delete 'ever closer union' from EU treaty

  • "Ever closer union" over, says Cameron (Photo: consilium/

David Cameron wants to remove the commitment to “ever closer union” from the EU treaty, as part of plans to reform Britain's membership of the bloc.

Speaking in a BBC interview Sunday (29 September), on the eve of his Conservative party's annual conference in Manchester, the UK prime minister said that the phrase was “not what the British people want and it's not what I want.”

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.

Cameron also repeated his threat to withdraw Britain from the European Convention of Human Rights unless his government is allowed to quickly deport foreign nationals deemed to be a security threat.

Having promised to renegotiate Britain's EU terms if his party is elected in 2015, followed by an 'in/out' referendum planned for 2017, Cameron is expected to come under pressure for more details from his party this week.

A majority of Conservative party members favour withdrawal from the EU, according to the ConservativeHome website.

Meanwhile, the eurosceptic lobby group, Business for Britain, said the UK should be able to unilaterally reject EU laws on the grounds that it had become increasingly isolated on issues such as financial services.

“Britain’s declining influence in the EU institutions has seriously undermined our ability to prevent a huge rise in the number and cost of regulations sent from Brussels,” the group said, adding that “Cameron [should push] for a red card system for member states.”

For his part, foreign secretary William Hague told party activists that EU leaders across the continent were also demanding repatriation of powers from Brussels.

“People used to think there was only one destination – a federal Europe – and the only question was whether you got there in the fast lane or slow lane.

“Governments across Europe are talking about power coming back to the countries of Europe. That is something new,” he said.

Earlier this summer, a review of EU law-making by the Dutch government concluded that “the time of ever closer up”. Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte has also commented that legal provisions should be made to allow countries to leave the eurozone and the Schengen area.

Germany's Angela Merkel is another leader to have indicated disquiet with the extent of EU lawmaking.

“We don't have to do everything in Brussels,” she said, adding that “we can also consider whether we can give something back”.

News in Brief

  1. Canada and Wallonia end talks without Ceta deal
  2. Juncker hopes for Canada accord in 'next few days'
  3. Romania drops opposition to Ceta
  4. Difficulties remain on Ceta deal, says Walloon leader
  5. Brexit could lead to 'some civil unrest' in Northern Ireland
  6. ECB holds rates and continues quantitive easing programme
  7. Support for Danish People's Party drops, poll
  8. Spain's highest court overturns Catalan ban on bullfighting

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. EFADraft Bill for a 2nd Scottish Independence Referendum
  2. UNICEFCalls on European Council to Address Plight of Refugee and Migrant Children
  3. ECTAJoin us on 9-10 November in Brussels and Discover the new EU Digital Landscape
  4. Access NowCan you Hear me now? Verizon’s Opportunity to Stand for Global Users
  5. Belgrade Security ForumMeaningful Dialogue Missing Not Only in the Balkans, but Throughout Europe
  6. EASPDJoin the Trip! 20 Years on the Road. Conference & Photo Exhibition on 19-21 October
  7. EuropecheEU Fishing Sector Celebrates Sustainably Sourced Seafood in EU Parliament
  8. World VisionWomen and Girls Urge EU Leadership to Help end Gender-based Violence
  9. Dialogue PlatformIs Jihadism Blind Spot of Western Intellectuals ? Wednesday 26 October
  10. Belgrade Security ForumGet the Latest News and Updates on the Belgrade Security Forum @BelSecForum
  11. Crowdsourcing Week EuropeMaster Crowdsourcing, Crowdfunding and Innovation! Conference 21 November - 10% Discount Code CSWEU16
  12. EJCEU Parliament's Roadmap for Relations with Iran a Massive Missed Opportunity