Is the UK Headed for Exit from the European Union?

English: DAVOS/SWITZERLAND, 29JAN10 - David Ca...
Cameron's discourse yesterday announcing that he will seek to renegotiate the European Treaties with a view to make them more "flexible" - read: in line with UK national interests - is something close to political blackmail. He claims he believes in Europe, but who can believe him?

I shall just post two lines here to indicate my own reaction as a European citizen committed to the creation of a European Union.

One, I'm horrified at the chauvinistic, nationalistic tone: he and his Conservative Party are straight out of the darkest pseudo-patriotic years of European History. This denial of European values is the kind of mentality that has caused the two World Wars. As long as Britannia Rules the Waves for the British, Europe has no chance.

A real throwback to a darker age. 

The UK wants access to the lucrative European market (500 million people!) but will not give up anything in return to get access. 

It's all take and no give. 

This attitude is all the more remarkable that if the UK persists and a referendum is set up on the simple question, as Cameron put it, of an in/out option, and the British Euro-skeptics win - well, it will be Britain itself that will hurt the most, in particular the City...

Two,  this seriously raises the question whether the UK has any right to stay in the EU. The experience so far with British membership has not been encouraging, to say the least. The UK has always acted as a break whenever there was a need to move forward.

Indeed, the UK's geopolitical allegiances are Atlantic, not European: the UK feels closer to the United States (same language, same culture) than to Germany or France even though they are next door neighbors. Undoubtedly the combined result of History and Geography: after all the UK is an island and it has a tendency to drift away from the continent...Historically, British diplomacy has always focused on pitting one European country against the other as a way to preserve its own freedom and integrity.   

Moreover, at the practical level of the Brussels secretariat, the British are already disengaging themselves: an ever dwindling number of young Brits join the European bureaucracy, they just don't see it as a career for themselves. Politically too, the UK has operated on a downward spiral with its European partners and is no longer able to obtain important positions within the European Commission. At the moment, the highest position held by a Brit is Catherine Ashton's as the "High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs  and Security Policy" - a mouthful to say that she should act as the EU's Foreign Affairs Minister...but in fact, she still doesn't. She is constantly relegated in the background. The last time we heard of her was when she made a statement on Gaza in November 2012...

Your opinion? Should the UK opt in or out? And if by chance it stays in, is there hope that it will be finally committed to building Europe?


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