David Cameron is supposed to give a speech in the middle of January on the occasion of the fortieth anniversary of the UK's entry in the EU. The most fervent Eurosceptics are pushing him to take a firm stand on the UK's place in the EU and to give Brits the choice. Meanwhile, Cameron has said that it would not be in the interest of the UK to leave the EU since the country would have to obey the rules of the single market without having any say about them. Several prominent EU movers and shakers were irritated by this attitude. Europolitics asked Andrew Duff (ALDE, UK) for his take on his country's place in a Union, which he wants to federalise further.

What do you expect from Cameron's upcoming speech?

He will have to try to placate his own party but his own party is extremely nationalistic and he himself is a genuine Eurosceptic. He thinks, I suppose, that it will be a sort of common market plus. It's not a question of having less of the current EU because the current form isn't going to survive the economic crisis. If we can salvage the project, the Union that will come out of the crisis is going to be substantially and qualitatively different from the present EU and it is clearly going to be distinctly a lot more federal so the choice for the Brits, and indeed for everyone else, is: are you part of the federal core? And if you're not part of the federal core, what kind of relationship do you want and what is going to be acceptable to the federal core?

Do you believe that is a question that will be put to referendum?

Yes, because there is going to be a treaty process, a convention, which will open in spring 2015 and it will have to draft a federal treaty and the Brits will be part of that process. And at the conclusion of that negotiation, there will be referendum in Great Britain. And if the Brits say no' in a referendum - which they will, probably - they will be blocking the treaty for everyone else. [ ] Cameron is going to say, I'm certain, that there is not going to be a referendum now. But there will have to be one at the end of the treaty amendment process.

Are these manoeuvres a strategy to reinforce his position with European partners?

It isn't an idle threat. There will have to be a referendum in Britain.

You suggested an associate member status for the UK

No, I said that we ought to include, for several reasons, in the treaty amendments a different status - a class of associate membership. And it isn't only for possible British...

To continue reading

Request your trial

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT