Thursday

23rd Nov 2017

UK foreign minister favours leaving EU if no reforms

  • Hammond (r): wants EU reforms or warns the UK will withdraw its membership (Photo: council of European Union)

Deep reforms on how the EU operates and is governed are needed if the UK is to remain a member of the Union, Britain's new foreign minister has said.

Tory minister Philip Hammond, who was appointed to his new role last week, told the BBC in an interview on Sunday (20 July) that “the status quo is not an acceptable way to run Europe in the future”.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

He said he stood by his answer given in an interview last year that if he had to choose now, he would vote for withdrawal from the EU. "I haven't changed my mind", he said.

Seen as more anti-EU than his predecessor William Hague, Hammond said he wants to renegotiate Britain’s relations in the run-up to a promised in-out referendum in the second half of 2017.

The referendum to withdraw from the EU is set to take place should the David Cameron’s Conservatives secure a victory in next year’s general election.

The former businessman and Oxford graduate said if the EU refuses to negotiate or to change then the British would cast their vote to scrap Union membership.

"If the offer by our European partners is nothing – no change, no negotiation – I am pretty clear what the answer of the British people will be,” Hammond said.

Among his priorities is to repatriate certain powers from Brussels back to the UK and ensure the interests of non-eurozone states are protected in their relations with those using the euro.

"There has to be a repatriation of powers to the nation states, a recognition – and this is not just a British demand, it's a demand from other countries too – that what can be done at national level should be done at national level,” he said.

Hammond noted the UK benefits from the single market but said he would still vote to leave the EU rather than accept the status quo.

His appointment to the key post is being interpreted in Brussels as a sign of London's hardening stance on the EU.

Hammond had worked with Cameron in their failed efforts to prevent Jean-Claude Juncker from taking the EU helm as European commission president.

The 58-year old also spoke about withdrawing the UK from the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg.

Before taking up the foreign affairs portfolio in July, Hammond was the UK’s minister of defence from 2011. He was also a transport minister for a year in 2010.

Analysis

EU 'cannot afford' lengthy German deadlock

Angela Merkel's failure to form a coalition government has raised concerns in Europe that the EU's most powerful country will send the block into paralysis.

MEPs put 'Article 7' against Poland on launch pad

MEPs urged Poland to comply with the EU treaties and to halt the 'reform' of the judiciary that could further undermine the rule of law in the country. Polish PM Beata Szydlo called the vote 'outrageous'.

Analysis

EU 'cannot afford' lengthy German deadlock

Angela Merkel's failure to form a coalition government has raised concerns in Europe that the EU's most powerful country will send the block into paralysis.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Energy Ministers Pledge to Work More Closely at Nordic and EU Level
  2. European Friends of ArmeniaLaunch of Honorary Council on the Occasion of the Eastern Partnership Summit and CEPA
  3. International Partnership for Human RightsEU Leaders Should Press Azerbaijan President to End the Detention of Critics
  4. CECEKey Stakeholders to Jointly Tackle the Skills Issue in the Construction Sector
  5. Idealist Quarterly"Dear Politics, Time to Meet Creativity!" Afterwork Discussion & Networking
  6. Mission of China to the EUAmbassador Zhang Ming Received by Tusk; Bright Future for EU-China Relations
  7. EU2017EEEstonia, With the ECHAlliance, Introduces the Digital Health Society Declaration
  8. ILGA EuropeFreedom of Movement For All Families? Same Sex Couple Ask EU Court for Recognition
  9. European Jewish CongressEJC to French President Macron: We Oppose All Contact With Far-Right & Far-Left
  10. EPSUWith EU Pillar of Social Rights in Place, Time Is Ticking for Commission to Deliver
  11. ILGA EuropeBan on LGBTI Events in Ankara Must Be Overturned
  12. Bio-Based IndustriesBio-Based Industries: European Growth is in Our Nature!

Latest News

  1. EU awaits UK proposals in final push for Brexit breakthrough
  2. Berlin risks being 'culprit' for stalling EU, warns Green MEP
  3. Eastern partners, eastern problems
  4. Germany's Schulz under pressure to enter coalition talks
  5. LuxLeaks trial re-opens debate on whistleblowers' protection
  6. Wilders says Russia is 'no enemy' ahead of Moscow visit
  7. EU must put Sudan under microscope at Africa summit
  8. Mali blames West for chaos in Libya