Friday

22nd Nov 2019

Britain's pro and anti-EU campaigns gear up

  • "We are stronger, better off and safer inside Europe than we would be out on our own," EU campaigner Stuart Rose said. (Photo: Yiannis Theologos Michellis)

The EU referendum campaign in the UK is gearing up, as a pro-EU campaign will be presented Monday (12 October), a few days after the launch of an initiative advocating an exit from the EU.


In the meantime, British media detailed over the weekend what are reportedly prime minister David Cameron's four main points in his negotiations with EU partners to reform links between the Union and Britain.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 year's of archives. 30-day free trial.

... or join as a group

According to the Daily Telegraph, quoting sources at Downing Street, the four "key demands" are: "an explicit statement" that Britain will not be bound to the principle of "ever closer union"; "an explicit statement" that the euro is not the official currency of the EU; a "red card" system giving national parliaments the power to stop or abolish EU law; and a new organisation of the EU protecting non-euro member states from a domination of the eurozone.

If confirmed, this wishlist would mean that Cameron has scrapped demands such as a reform of EU treaties and measures to curb EU immigration.

Countries where many migrants come from, like Poland, Hungary or Slovakia, strongly opposed any idea of limiting movement in the EU, the Telegraph said.

'Patriotic course'

So far, the British PM has not officially presented his demands to the EU. At the Conservative conference last week, he said the EU was "too bossy" but gave no detail on what he will ask.

"When we joined the European Union we were told that it was about going into a common market, rather than the goal that some had for an 'ever closer union'. Let me put this very clearly: Britain is not interested in 'ever closer union' – and I will put that right," he said.

Speaking to the BBC, Cameron said: "If I don't get what I want then I rule nothing out. But I am confident we will get what we need."

At the EU summit on Thursday and Friday, EU leaders will take stock of the discussions held at a technical level so far. They are expected to discuss the issue at the next summit in December.

Although no date has been set for the referendum, either in 2016 or in 2016, the pro- and anti- campaigns are already making their cases.

Monday will see the launch of the "Britain Stronger in Europe" campaign. It will be led by former Marks&Spencer boss and Tory peer Stuart Rose, with the support of three former prime minister, John Major, Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, as well as business and political figures, like former Labour minister and EU commissioner Peter Mandelson.

"I believe that we are stronger, better off and safer inside Europe than we would be out on our own," Rose said in a statement.

"To claim that the patriotic course for Britain is to retreat, withdraw and become inward looking is to misunderstand who we are as a nation," he added.

'Regain control'

Britain Stronger in Europe will face two recently launched pro-Brexit campaigns, Leave.EU and Vote Leave.

Vote Leave, which is run by Matthew Elliott, the founder of the Taxpayers' Alliance campaign, was presented on 9 October and is backed by three Eurosceptic groups: Conservatives for Britain, Labour Leave and Business for Britain.

It is supported among others by the writer Frederick Forsyth, the Conservative former treasurer Peter Cruddas, Labour donor John Mills and former Tory funder and UKIP treasurer Stuart Wheeler.

"We negotiate a new UK-EU deal based on free trade and friendly cooperation. We end the supremacy of EU law. We regain control," Vote Leaves says on its website.

"We stop sending £350 million every week to Brussels and instead spend it on our priorities, like the NHS and science research. We regain our seats on international institutions like the World Trade Organisation so we are a more influential force for free trade and international cooperation."

On the anti-EU side, Vote Leave will be competing with Leave.EU, a campaign founded by by UKIP donor Arron Banks and which UKIP leader Nige Farage described as an umbrella group" of anti-EU campaigners.

Farage said he would support both Leave.EU and Vote Leave. But he said the former was a "Westminster-based group" putting forward business arguments, while the matter was "reaching out to millions of ordinary people" and making the case for Britain being able to control its borders.

Cameron belittles EU institutions

The British PM bashed the EU for being “too bossy” in a speech Wednesday, but gave few details on plans for European reform.

Britain's EU vote to ask 'remain or leave?'

The question UK voters will have to answer in the planned referendum on EU membership will probably indicate a clear "remain or leave" alternative, London has said.

Cameron to set out EU reforms in November

David Cameron is to outline his proposals for a reformed UK membership of the EU in early November and promises to quicken the pace of negotiations.

UK demands treaty guarantees on eurozone relations

UK Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne said that treaty change will be necessary to accommodate British demands on relations with the eurozone, ahead of the EU membership referendum.

G7 warns Brexit could hurt global growth

G7 leaders in Japan warned that the UK leaving the European Union is a "serious threat" to global economic growth, as EU leaders draw up plans in case British voters choose to leave the bloc.

News in Brief

  1. EU parliament votes on new commission next week
  2. Berlusconi wants Europe to be a military global power
  3. Orban ordered to apologise over 'misleading' Soros survey
  4. EPP to decide on expelling Fidesz by end of January
  5. Rowdy anti-corruption protest in Malta
  6. Ambassador: Trump ordered Ukraine election meddling
  7. EU links Libyan government to human trafficking
  8. Greek PM on migration: 'Greece has reached its limits'

Wilmès becomes first female PM of Belgium

On Sunday, Sophie Wilmès was appointed as the new prime minister of Belgium - becoming the first female head of government in the country's history. She replaces Charles Michel who becomes president of the European Council.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersEarmarked paternity leave – an effective way to change norms
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Climate Action Weeks in December
  3. UNESDAUNESDA welcomes Nicholas Hodac as new Director General
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersBrussels welcomes Nordic culture
  5. UNESDAUNESDA appoints Nicholas Hodac as Director General
  6. UNESDASoft drinks industry co-signs Circular Plastics Alliance Declaration
  7. FEANIEngineers Europe Advisory Group: Building the engineers of the future
  8. Nordic Council of MinistersNew programme studies infectious diseases and antibiotic resistance
  9. UNESDAUNESDA reduces added sugars 11.9% between 2015-2017
  10. International Partnership for Human RightsEU-Uzbekistan Human Rights Dialogue: EU to raise key fundamental rights issues
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersNo evidence that social media are harmful to young people
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersCanada to host the joint Nordic cultural initiative 2021

Latest News

  1. EPP congress pledges 'moderate' climate solution
  2. EPP wants to re-open accession talks with Balkans
  3. New EU financial instruments needed
  4. Binding measures to expand gender balance
  5. Watershed moment for rule of law in Hong Kong
  6. EU Africa envoy: Europe needs to look beyond migration
  7. New calls for Muscat to resign over journalist's murder
  8. Tusk pledges 'fight' for EU values as new EPP president

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Vote for the EU Sutainable Energy AwardsCast your vote for your favourite EUSEW Award finalist. You choose the winner of 2019 Citizen’s Award.
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersEducation gets refugees into work
  3. Counter BalanceSign the petition to help reform the EU’s Bank
  4. UNICEFChild rights organisations encourage candidates for EU elections to become Child Rights Champions
  5. UNESDAUNESDA Outlines 2019-2024 Aspirations: Sustainability, Responsibility, Competitiveness
  6. Counter BalanceRecord citizens’ input to EU bank’s consultation calls on EIB to abandon fossil fuels
  7. International Partnership for Human RightsAnnual EU-Turkmenistan Human Rights Dialogue takes place in Ashgabat
  8. Nordic Council of MinistersNew campaign: spot, capture and share Traces of North
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersLeading Nordic candidates go head-to-head in EU election debate
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersNew Secretary General: Nordic co-operation must benefit everybody
  11. Platform for Peace and JusticeMEP Kati Piri: “Our red line on Turkey has been crossed”
  12. UNICEF2018 deadliest year yet for children in Syria as war enters 9th year

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us