Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Let Britain leave the EU

The most remarkable outcome in the Angus Reid poll, published 10 November 2009, is not that almost half (46 per cent) of Britons still want an undoable referendum on the EU’s Lisbon Treaty, despite David Cameron’s recent climb-down and diversionary proposals.

The fundamental question is the view of Britons on their country’s relationship with the European Union. Only 13 per cent think that the United Kingdom should become more integrated with the EU and adopt the euro.

The rest of the respondents want to put integration into reverse gear, ranging between further opt-outs and outright withdrawal:

“A third of respondents (32%) think the UK should stay in the EU, but regain control of some social and employment policies; roughly a fifth of Britons (19%) say the UK’s relationship with the EU should be limited to having free trade agreements, and 15 per cent advocate for a full withdrawal from the EU.”

Purpose of the EU

From the 1950 Schuman declaration onwards, European integration is a continuing process towards an ever closer union between the peoples of Europe. The Lisbon Treaty is but the latest major step in the evolving project the UK joined in 1973.

Like all organisations, the European Union needs constructive and contributing members, who ask not what the EU can do for them, but what they can do for their EU.

EU referendum needed

If, after three and a half decades, only 13 per cent of the Britons are prepared to share the values and the aims of the European Union, to give their fair share to building our common European future, and to express solidarity with other EU citizens, the UK should leave the EU and let the rest of Europe get on with the work, slow and wobbly as it is.

The Liberal Democrats already proposed a referendum on the UK’s membership, during the Lisbon Treaty debate. Let them renew the call and be joined by the other political parties.

A clear outcome would be healthier for the political atmosphere in Britain, and it would be better for Europe.

Ralf Grahn

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