The Chancellor, George Osborne, will say in a speech to the think tank ‘Open Europe’ and the ‘Fresh Start’ group of MPs set up by Conservatives who want EU reform that ‘we can’t go on like this’ and that the European union must ‘reform or decline’.
As economic power moves eastwards and southwards, he will say, the EU will see its global output halve just as other countries such as China and India surge ahead.
He will also say that ‘the biggest economic risk facing Europe doesn't come from those who want reform and renegotiation’ but that ‘It comes from a failure to reform and renegotiate’.
He will go on to say that failure to change will lead to ‘…an ongoing economic crisis and continuing decline’.
Does this mean that the Tories are beginning to see the problems with the EU? No, they already know. It is more likely that they are running a bit scared of UKIP and want to re-emphasis their policy of reforming the EU into something that the UK electorate would like, conveniently forgetting the wishes of the other 27 nations in the club.
But how can you reform the European Union when no two people appear to have the same understanding of what it actually is? By this I mean that on one hand we’re being told it is ‘just a common single market’, but others openly tell us it is an organisation intent on turning itself into a single state. And these conflicting messages are coming from within our own political establishment and from within the EU hierarchy itself. Just as we’re told that there will be no further shift in sovereignty by our own politicians along comes the EU to tell us we all need to get ever closer. So how on earth can we possibly stand a chance of reforming the ever morphing and undefinable EU? The people within the club must be told clearly and unequivocally what the core purpose of the EU club is and where the limits lie. And no, an act of parliament that offers us a referendum on some or other criteria is not enough as it applies to just one country and can be repealed at any time.
The only clear way forward is for the UK to exit the EU and forge its own way in the world. At least then we’d know that the aim is.
For those that still believe that the EU is merely a single market structure should reflect that the ‘First ever EU legal instrument for Roma inclusion’ was adopted on the 9th December 2013 just weeks prior to all restrictions on the people of Romania and Bulgaria being lifted. However laudable this may be, actions like this are not those of ‘just a single market’. Especially when there are anti-discrimination laws already in place in the UK as well as laws outlining how people are expected to behave.
Some may argue that those laws are only in place because of the EU but I would say that’s probably more to do with the ECHR.