Confirmation at last – the UK is not a part of Europe!

"One more thing Mr. Barroso, we also plan to lay mines in the English Channel."

And so, with Britain’s veto of the proposed new EU treaty aimed at solving the euro-zone’s financial troubles, Mr Cameron can proudly write his name in the history books as the Prime Minister who finally moved his country off the fence and decisively away from any idea of being European nation.

Of course we all knew that the UK was never going to join Europe in anything other than a self-serving way but now we have the proof. When push came to shove all Britain could do was heckle from the sidelines and then be the only nation to veto crucial changes to the treaty. Changes that, subject to a few national votes or referendums, is most likely to be approved by every other nation in the EU whether they use the Euro or not.

The Wall Street Journal suggest this could leave the UK isolated. Nick Clegg, the UK’s deputy Prime Minister is also very concerned. I think they are exactly right.

Is this just a case of Britain displaying its European paranoia, is it a concern that the nation and primarily its politicians will have to play third fiddle to Germany and France or is it afraid that it will fall foul of the main provisions of the new treaty leading to gross national embarrassment?

Those main provisions being:

  • a cap of 0.5% of GDP on countries’ annual structural deficits
  • “automatic consequences” for countries whose public deficit exceeds 3% of GDP
  • the tighter rules to be enshrined in countries’ constitutions
  • the EU’s permanent bailout facility, the European Stability Mechanism (ESM), to be accelerated and brought into force in July 2012
  • the adequacy of 500bn-euro (£427bn; $666bn) limit for the ESM to be reassessed
  • eurozone and other EU countries to provide up to 200bn euros to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to help debt-stricken eurozone members

In any event, as someone who considers himself a European before and above anything else I’m proud to be living in a nation that despite being one of the 9 outside the eurozone has already voted in favour of the new treaty rather than in the nation that is moving faster than ever before in the direction of the US as opposed to what seems like the more sensible direction across the channel.

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3 thoughts on “Confirmation at last – the UK is not a part of Europe!

  1. “In any event, as someone who considers himself a European before and above anything else […]” Hear, hear!

    It’s an incredibly complex thing to balance national interests, security, regional stability, etc but despite the EU’s many flaws I firmly believe it is better than a loose collection of nation states.

    While we have many differences with others in Europe we have more similarities and certainly more common, shared goals. Achieving these goals may require sacrificing some historical control over certain aspects of law but these small (I believe) sacrifices will reap huge rewards.

    I also believe that, increasingly, there will be more and more people who think of themselves as European first and Polish, English, German, etc second. That is certainly how I think of myself – American first, Oregonian second. Someday, hopefully, European first, Polish second, Oregonian third.

  2. Scatts, I would agree with you on here. One thing that living aboard does is that to makes people change by either by making someone very world-wiser or very narrow-looking.

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