Recently Mr Cameron set out more of the details of his proposed renegotiation with the rest of the EU, should the Conservatives win the General Election in 2015. He proposes negotiating over seven main areas:
- “Powers flowing away from Brussels, not always to it
- National parliaments able to work together to block unwanted European legislation
- Businesses liberated from red tape and benefiting from the strength of the EU’s own market
- Our police forces and justice systems able to protect British citizens, unencumbered by unnecessary interference from the European institutions
- Free movement to take up work, not free benefits
- Support for the continued enlargement of the EU to new members but with new mechanisms in place to prevent vast migrations across the Continent
- And dealing properly with the concept of “ever closer union”, enshrined in the treaty, to which every EU country has to sign up. It may appeal to some countries. But it is not right for Britain, and we must ensure we are no longer subject to it.”
This week the Chancellor has added to the task the need to protect UK interests from further centralisation of powers stemming from the Euro scheme and the need for its members to sign up to increased Brussels control over their economies and banking systems.
There is now an opportunity to discuss this list. Some will wish to go further, others will see this as a substantial agenda to be getting on with following the election in 2015. What it should be easier to agree is the need for a referendum, so those who want out can vote for Out and those who think the new deal – however far it goes – is sufficient to warrant staying in can vote to stay in.
Many bloggers on this site repeatedly ask for full control over our borders again. The Conservative proposals seek to stop benefit tourists arriving and claiming, and would impose new restrictions on future migrations of workers. Some will want to go further. They will point out that during the Labour years we needed to build a new city the size of Southampton every year to cater for all the additional people arriving, many of whom came from the rest of the EU. This will be an important part of the debate over the renegotiation.