Thursday, June 11, 2015

Cameron under pressure on EU talks

As Prime Minister David Cameron prepares to renegotiate the terms of Britain’s membership of the European Union at a summit later this month, more than 50 Conservative party members of Parliament have said that they will vote to leave the EU if the Prime Minister does not achieve the autonomy from the EU they seek.
In his election campaign, Mr. Cameron had promised far-reaching treaty change with the EU and an ‘in-out’ referendum on its membership of the European body to be held before 2017.
Greater autonomy
Mr. Cameron must now make good on his pledge of renegotiating the terms of Britain’s EU membership in the direction of greater autonomy for Parliament and the loosening of European regulations on the British economy and legal system.
If he does not get the concessions he seeks, Mr. Cameron will have to decide on whether his government will throw its weight behind Brexit in the run up to the referendum.
Key electoral promises made by the Conservative Party hang on the successful outcome of Mr. Cameron’s negotiations with Brussels. These include pledges to cut EU immigration into Britain, to replace the Human Rights Act with a tougher Bill of Rights, and regulation on businesses.
Mr. Cameron is expected to face tough opposition during the negotiations from leaders like German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Polish Prime Minister Ewa Kopacz among others who want the U.K. to remain in the EU but are willing to grant no special status.
‘Out’ sentiment
Indeed, the ‘out’ sentiment on Europe is gaining traction within the Conservative party. Conservatives for Britain, a newly set up pressure group of Tory eurosceptics headed by the MP Steve Baker, claims that it will monitor the progress of talks and see if it is line with the party’s election pledges.
Writing in The Telegraph on Sunday, Mr. Baker said the renegotiation must include “an end to ‘ever closer union’, reduced regulation for small businesses and start-ups, domestic control over social and employment law, protection for the City, exemption from eurozone intervention, fast-track trade deals, a reduced EU budget, greater transparency, migration controls for member states and the right for Britain to veto EU laws.
Mr. Baker makes it clear that the MPs will seek an ‘out’ option in the referendum if these criteria are not met.
“We wish David Cameron every success but, unless senior EU officials awake to the possibility that one of the EU’s largest members is serious about a fundamental change in our relationship, our recommendation to British voters seems likely to be exit,” Mr. Baker.

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