Both sides can ask each other what life will be like if they win. The Remain side are completely silent on what remain looks like, so it’s high time the media started asking them about important problems ahead for the EU. Here are four realistic scenarios – what is their answer?
- The UK compromises over the Treaty of Political Union in a few years time and has to hold a second referendum on the powers transferred under that new Treaty.
We know there will be a new Treaty soon. The government after all has promised us Treaty change to entrench its “new deal” following renegotiation. The 5 Presidents Report makes clear they have started work on a Treaty of Political Union. The UK will be expected to join that, and will have to to secure its Treaty change from the renegotiation. Inevitably some power will be conceded, even if there are some opt outs from the most centralising features. There will then have to be a second referendum under the UK’s Referendum Act.
2. The UK applies the veto to the Treaty of Political Union.
It is possible though less likely the UK will resist any new powers to the EU. We will end up having to veto the Political Union Treaty if we stick to that view. This means we will not secure our Treaty change to implement the renegotiation, will block progress on putting political union behind the Euro currency, and annoy all our Euro area partners. It will delay necessary reform to save the Euro and make the fragile Euro even more subject to crisis.
3. Another round of the Euro crisis forces the UK to accept a bigger EU budget
The Euro remains unstable, with Greece, Portugal, Spain and Italy struggling within its austerity discipline, unable to devalue to relieve some of the pressures. There will be natural political pressure to send more money to the poorer areas or areas suffering from the single currency, just as happens in single currency areas like the USA and UK where there are large regional and welfare transfers. The EU may well wish to boost regional policy, structural funds and other regional transfers to tackle deprivation and high unemployment in large areas of the Eurozone, and they will expect the UK to contribute. How high might the EU budget go? How much more money will be sent out of the UK to pay the bills? The UK claims to have an opt out from Euro area bail outs, though the UK still did participate in the last short term bail out loan for Greece. We are not opted out of the many transfer payments systems already set up in the EU which they will wish to expand.
4. The EU fails to solve the migration crisis and expects the UK to make a larger contribution
The government’s own flawed figures for 2030 contain a forecast of continuing high levels of EU migration into the UK. There is also the possibility that the EU will expect the UK to make a larger financial contribution to help resolve the migrant crisis. The Euro 3bn for Turkey will probably be an addition to the EU budget which we will have to help fund. The UK will be under pressure to make more migrants under some EU quota system as well as increase payments to assist.