never-closer union? January 23, 2013Posted by Bradley in : eu , trackback
Finally, that speech. From a man who heads up a government without a real electoral mandate, supported by MPs from another party who have ignored their own campaign promises, a vow to re-negotiate the UK’s relationship with the EU and ask UK voters what they think:
At some stage in the next few years the EU will need to agree on Treaty change to make the changes needed for the long term future of the Euro and to entrench the diverse, competitive, democratically accountable Europe that we seek.
I believe the best way to do this will be in a new Treaty so I add my voice to those who are already calling for this.
My strong preference is to enact these changes for the entire EU, not just for Britain.
But if there is no appetite for a new Treaty for us all then of course Britain should be ready to address the changes we need in a negotiation with our European partners.
The next Conservative Manifesto in 2015 will ask for a mandate from the British people for a Conservative Government to negotiate a new settlement with our European partners in the next Parliament.
It will be a relationship with the Single Market at its heart.
And when we have negotiated that new settlement, we will give the British people a referendum with a very simple in or out choice. To stay in the EU on these new terms; or come out altogether.
It will be an in-out referendum.
Legislation will be drafted before the next election. And if a Conservative Government is elected we will introduce the enabling legislation immediately and pass it by the end of that year. And we will complete this negotiation and hold this referendum within the first half of the next parliament.
It is time for the British people to have their say. It is time to settle this European question in British politics.
There’s a lot in the speech about the problems of having rules set in Brussels (as if the UK didn’t agree to the EU’s procedures for adopting new rules and didn’t participate in those procedures) and an invocation of the idea that “national parliaments ….are, and will remain, the true source of real democratic legitimacy and accountability in the EU.” Lots of tub-thumping rhetoric here without a secure basis in reality. And perhaps much more damaging to the UK in Europe than the handbag.