Cameron postpones speech in Holland

Angela Merkel, German Federal Chancellor, José Manuel Barroso EC President and David Cameron, British Prime Minister (from left to right). (EC Audiovisual Service). Merkel and Cameron closing for an embrace, but it seems that Cameron wants this embrace less close.

Angela Merkel, German Federal Chancellor, José Manuel Barroso EC President and David Cameron, British Prime Minister (from left to right). (EC Audiovisual Service). Merkel and Cameron closing for an embrace, but it seems that Cameron wants this embrace less close.

The European Sting is monitoring very closely what is happening in Britain over the burning issue of the country’s relations with the European Union. The possibility of holding a referendum about a possible exit is developing into a deeply splitting issue. Prime Minister David Cameron seems cornered in his own party by the group of Tory Eurosceptics, who promote with all their powers an exit of UK from the EU. Early on Friday 18 January the British PM said he postponed the speech in Holland about the UK’s relations with the EU. He was expected to speak in The Hague today.

The American President Barack Obama however reaffirmed the US position that Washington wants Britain within the European Union.

The Tory Eurosceptics

Cameron himself says now that a referendum may take place after the 2015 general election but he also stresses that he is in favour of Britain to stay in the Union, without however identifying what has to change in the EU-UK relations for Britain to stay in. Nor he puts before the EU institutions a straight forward dilemma such as “change or we leave”, as his minister George Osborn the Chancellor of the Exchequer did some days ago speaking in an interview to the German newspaper Die Welt.

What is happening in the Conservative party over this issue is a matter of utmost importance for the entire continent. The Eurosceptic Tory faction accuses Cameron that he avoided to promise a plebiscite on this issue, while fighting the last general election and according to them that is why the Tories didn’t win an absolute majority. As a result they needed the 63 Liberal MEPs of Nick Clegg’s to form a government, which cannot implement real Tory policies. It is not clear what is more important for this group of Europhobic Conservatives, to win the next election or Britain to leave the European Union?

As for the position of the Liberals on this subject, their leader Nick Clegg, a happy Deputy Prime Minister in the coalition government, who is traditionally in favour of the EU, now he doesn’t seem to disagree with the prospect of the referendum. Obviously he doesn’t want to distant himself from the general direction of the government.

The Labour Party

On the other side of the fence Labour party’s leader Ed Miliband has made crystal clear that he personally and his party are wholeheartedly in favour of Britain’s position within the EU. Along with the Labour Party the country’s prestigious Confederation of British Industries, the lobby of industrious Britain, is also strongly in favour of the country’s position within the EU.

It is not only the fact that Britain is shipping 40% of its exports to the rest of the European Union, a market that may be lost, if Britain choses to exit. It is also a fact that a large percentage of incoming foreign investments in Britain are being realised, exactly because the UK is a member of the EU and the Union’s internal market numbers 500 million consumers. Probably hundreds of thousands of jobs in Britain will be at stake if the country exits the EU.

Given all that, Cameron is really in a very difficult position because he himself has never express a willingness to draw Britain out of the EU. Seemingly he has to south the Eurosceptics of his party in order to secure their support for his leadership so he has to promise a referendum. On the other hand however he recognises that an exit from the EU will be overly detrimental for Britain, so he now speaks about a new relationship with Brussels, without though identifying what he wants to change in the EU. By the way he rejected an early referendum on this burning issue.

Being pressed from all sides within his country the British Prime Minister had panned to set out today for continental Europe to start talking first with Britain’s traditional friends in Holland about all that. Reportedly he was expected to speak in The Hague about the changes he wants in the EU-UK relationship and in a way ask what the Dutch think about it.

This it was not a bad idea because the Dutch have always been close friends to Britain and their reaction will be greatly appreciated by the British people.

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