The club is so full of it that it may warrant restrictions on newcomers, yet manifests itself surprisingly quite open to early karaoke drop outs. Herman Van Rompuy, President of the European Council, was squeaky clean this week about UK’s prospects of an in-out EU referendum also known as Brexit, to quote the last new-coined term.
In his speech Britain in Europe: Channeling Change Together delivered on 28 February at the Annual Conference of Policy Network in London, Van Rompuy stated: “It is finally sinking in that the euro is here to stay… The eurozone is again a club with a queue – not at the exit, but at the entrance”. Yet “if there is one thing we cannot afford, it’s sitting back complacently. The most serious problems are shared beyond the eurozone and affect the whole of Europe“.
No “à-la-carte” menu for British membership shall be granted, Rompuy highlighted. Basically, if you won’t have Brussels sprouts, I shall not serve shepherd’s pie either! “Leaving the club altogether, as a few advocate, is legally possible,” Van Rompuy said. “We have an ‘exit clause’. “But it’s not a matter of just walking out. It would be legally and politically a most complicated and unpractical affair. Just think of a divorce after 40 years of marriage. Leaving is an act of free will and perfectly legitimate but it doesn’t come for free.”
Divorcing the EU shall presumably entail a divorce allowance to the less competitive husband, Rompuy suggested as UK’s unilateral advertised potential exit from the EU shall not be negotiable, nor the treaties re-evaluated. To put it bluntly, there is no prenuptial agreement granting the UK special benefits in exiting the EU. Nor in staying.
David Lidington, Europe Minister of the United Kingdom, argues that Britain needs to understand what EU membership stands for and in doing so, they have launched the Balance of Competences Review that “is not designed as a prelude to cherry-picking the Treaties, or to British exit from the EU. In fact, the Review will not be making specific policy recommendations. Instead, it will provide a wealth of evidence and objective analysis to inform a constructive and serious debate in the UK”.
Some 32 reports shall be provided over the next two years on EU and its effect on the UK from the environment to education to EU enlargement.