Some have wrongly argued here that the government has failed to set out what it wishes to achieve from the current renegotiation with the EU. This is not the case, so I will remind people of what the government has said about its plans.
My view is I want “the fundamental change” in the UK’s relationship with the EU that the PM talked about. I want to trade and be friends with them, but to be outside the centralising treaties which force laws and policies on us that we would not choose for ourselves.
More recently the government has identified four big areas for change. They say they are negotiating over each of these areas.
Competitiveness and Regulation – the government wants an EU based on the primacy of more jobs and prosperity, that regulates and interferes less
Sovereignty and competences – the government wants powers back and more ability to stop mandatory policies from the EU through the actions of national Parliaments
A new and clearer relationship with the Eurozone – so the Uk does not have to accept Eurozone requirements on banking, finance etc
More UK control over migration and access to welfare – removing the “pull” factors that are swelling migrant numbers into the UK.
The current debate is over whether the government is asking for enough to satisfy the many voters in the middle of this argument who have not made up their minds on whether to leave the EU or not, and whether the EU will give the UK anything meaningful under these various headings to enable the government to recommend the deal. The government recognises that Treaty change will be needed, but may settle for a promissory note on treaty change which then raises the issue of the powers of the ECJ, what happens in the interim, and the ability of the rest of the EU to deliver given the complexities of securing the consent of all 28 to treaty changes.
Many will conclude leaving is an easier way of resolving the lack of power and democratic control the UK currently suffers from under the present treaties. If it looks as if the UK will vote to leave there will be more chance of securing that fundamental change Mr Cameron has talked about.