FLASH MAY 14, 2015 | publicatii - Politica La Est
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FLASH MAY 14, 2015

It is closely connected with the future  development of events  in East Europe and Asia- the focus of our platform- what would happen to European Union after the British election and overwhelming victory of David Cameron’s Conservative party. Carl Bildt wrote recently an article on ‘Project Syndicate’ ( May 9, 015 ) in which he began his brilliant analysis with the phrase: “The next 18-24 months are likely to decide the shape of Europe for decades to come, and the United Kingdom has now started the clock on that process.” As we know, Cameron has promised a referendum in-out EU, which has to take place till 2017, but already there are voices in UK asking for an earlier date.  The conclusion of the Bildt’s analysis is extremely important not only for Europe, but for the entire Eurasia and the world: „Cameron’s remarkable victory should be viewed as an opportunity to launch a renewed and reformed EU in the next two years. The UK’s European partners expect Cameron to frame the debate that must now begin if a truly stronger EU – one that can face up to its future and its future challenges – is to emerge. But there is also the possibility of it all going terribly wrong. In these dangerous times, the consequences of Europe’s disintegration must not be underestimated.” Perhaps some would think that disintegration of Europe is unthinkable, but history is full of small, isolated events which trigger off a chain of developments with the most terrible ending . And a retreat of UK form EU could launch such a trend towards disintegration of the unification of the old continent already reached after more than half a century of common efforts. During the recent days some UK officials were expressed ideas regarding rapid negotiations of the revisions asked by the British government designed for the EU’s fundamental treaties. The reaction in Brussels were mixed , but clearly it was some points where experts on the continent and politicians  have converged .
         A very interesting idea had journalist Nicholas Vinocur, namely to present these points of convergence in the European  opinion towards UK government  intentions  in the form of a letter written by the “continent”. In that letter, the author has imagined how Europe- even if there are differences between the positions of various countries regarding the role of UK in EU- as a whole will advice Cameron what to do now after such a big  electoral victory. The main  points of  the imagined letter , according to  Vinocur   „/are/ based on conversations with thinkers and members of the French and European parliaments”.
            Congratulating David Cameron for his victory, this imaginary letter warns UK Prime Minister  that any revision of the founding treaties of the European Union should take into account that „France and Germany agree that we will not accept any change that undermines Europe’s four freedoms”: freedom to travel, freedom of establishment, and the free circulation of services and capital. If anything, we want a reform that allows the European Union — perhaps just core eurozone countries — to come closer together.” The letter send to what two European deputies, one French, another German,  had declared. Says French Socialist member of the European Parliament Christophe Caresche: “If Britain wants treaty reform, it must be prepared to accept compromise in the other direction, for closer ties between the core states. Britain can’t have its cake and eat it too, be present every committee while seeking exceptions to everything.” And German Manfred Weber has added “When you are a member of a club, there are certain common rules that everybody has to respect. This is the case for fundamental freedoms: They apply to goods and capital; they also apply to people. I am sure the British people understand this ”.
            Secondly, the letter expressed anxiety to Cameron’s intention to move quickly with the negotiations of the treaties’ revision : „even if we started negotiations now, there would be little we could do to accelerate the process because it would not just be Britain negotiating. Twenty-seven other member states would understandably take the chance to start wrangling for opt-outs to EU law, each according to their needs. As Charles de Marcilly from the Robert Schuman Foundation think tank puts it, the risk with going down that road is that we could end up with a European Union that is fragmented and even less efficient than the one we have now.”
            Of course, there are also some advices submitted to Cameron to be more clear about what UK wants form the UE, and finally is said: “The European Union can be marvellously flexible. Europe — with France and Germany in the front seat — wants Britain to remain a member, and our leaders will be delighted to help you campaign in favour of continued membership (if you think that’s a good idea!).But let’s be clear about one thing: If the price is too high, and you ask us to abandon basic principles to accommodate yours, we will let Britain leave. It will be a sad day for Europe, and we really hope it doesn’t come to that, but our post-war vision of unity and peace would survive.
         Is it a position to be adopted by Europe ?  With other words:  UK do not speed up things, we are not afraid that European Union will disintegrate   if you will opt out.
 
See: Nicholas Vinocur, Dear Mr Cameron . . .What France and Germany might say to Britain’s prime minister if they could speak with one voice. 13/5/15 in “Politico”- http://www.politico.eu/article/cameron-letter-brexit-eu-negotiations/

Mihail E. Ionescu

 

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