Tuesday, December 04, 2012
Support for a Single Market+ deal grows: Boris calls for renegotiation of UK's EU membership terms
The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, in a speech earlier for Thomson Reuters called for the UK to renegotiate its EU membership terms in order to, as he put it, "maximise the benefits of EU membership and the single market without being kicked out". He argued that "The choice is staying in on our terms or getting out" but that "A pared down relationship [with the EU] is essential and deliverable". He went on to say that after a renegotiation, (to remove areas not related to the single market such as social policy and fishing) the package should be put to a referendum with the question being "Do you want to stay in the EU single market as renegotiated? Yes or No?".
This is very close to what we have argued for and what our Chairman Lord Leach set out in a Times article yesterday.
In questions afterwards, Johnson was asked about UK Government policy towards the eurocrisis, to which he said, "I do not understand why we urge countries to go forward with fiscal union" - setting himself apart from David Cameron and George Osborne who actively call for the eurozone to press ahead with more integration. He also said that the euro would limp on as the "Germans are trying to bubblegum the thing together" and backed Open Europe's suggestion of a "double majority" voting safeguard in the European Banking Authority to counter eurozone caucusing.
Cleverly, he ended his speech by asking the audience of journalists, commentators and finance professionals, whether they would back more EU powers, withdrawal or renegotiation. Nearly the entire audience backed renegotiation.