UK exit from EU ‘not ruled out’ – Cameron
PM’s official demands will be listed in a letter addressed to European Council president Donald Tusk. European leaders have asked for the letter to kickoff the negotiations with senior representatives ahead of the promised UK referendum on EU membership sometime in the end of 2017.
Cameron will ask the EU to budge on the following topics: restricting in-work benefits to EU migrants for four years, improving protections for non-eurozone countries so eurozone countries could not outvote them, creating opt-out option for the UK from the EU’s commitment to “ever-closer union,” and increasing powers of parliaments to block EU legislation.
Cameron is also scheduled to give a speech that will use strong langue to tell the EU that the status quo is not enough for the UK to stay and hint that the UK’s referendum results could go either way.
“Those who believe we should stay in the EU at all costs need to explain why Britain should accept the status quo. I am clear that there are real problems with this,” Cameron is scheduled to say. “If we can’t reach such an agreement, and if Britain’s concerns were to be met with a deaf ear, which I do not believe will happen, then we will have to think again about whether this European Union is right for us. As I have said before – I rule nothing out.”
Cameron will express confidence that he will get the reforms he needs. “[I have] every confidence that we will achieve an agreement that works for Britain and works for our European partners. And if and when we do so, as I said three years ago, I will campaign to keep Britain inside a reformed European Union – campaign for it with all my heart and all my soul, because that will be unambiguously in our national interest.”
“There are some economic risks if we allow a situation where eurozone countries could potentially spend our money, or where European regulations hold back our ability to trade and create jobs. And there are also significant risks if we allow our sovereignty to be eroded by ever closer union, or sit by and do nothing about the unsustainable rate of migration into our country,” Cameron is expected to say.
The decision to stand pat and demand reforms reportedly came from Cameron’s advisors, who suggested that the “leave” the EU option must be left on the table in order to have productive negotiations.
Cameron is expected to model his political strategy on the Scottish referendum, during which people were promised a package of reforms in the event of voting in favor of staying within the United Kingdom.