This of course is related to Cameron’s most extraordinary statement vis-à-vis his stated aim to restore Sovereign control of the UK’s borders and immigration policy. Presumably Senhor Barroso still for the moment President of the European Commission, received advance notice of this through the usual diplomatic channels and therefore made a special trip to London to make the statement he did.
Senhor Barroso, backed up by Vince Cable made the point that what Cameron is asking for cannot be given. What Cameron is demanding is to remain within the European Economic Area but to restore Sovereign Control of the UK’s borders. Cameron’s proposal may either be a proposal to restore Sovereign Control of the borders and inter alia, immigration policy to all EEA members or to make a singular exception for the UK.
What Senhor Barroso did was to come all the way to London to make it absolutely clear that either of these was completely unachievable. Of course Sir Simon Fraser KCMG the Permanent Under-Secretary of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, will have told Philip Hammond the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs precisely this.
Herewith some brief FACTS:
The European Economic Area (EEA) provides for the free movement of goods, persons, services and capital through three of four member states of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) (Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway), and 27 of 28 member states of the European Union (EU), with Croatia provisionally applying the agreement pending its ratification by all EEA countries. Switzerland the fourth member of EFTA and not a member of the EEA. The EEA was established on 1st January 1994 following an agreement between the three of the four member states of EFTA and the European Community, which later became the EU.
EEA membership for Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway is NOT supplied Free of Charge. Membership of the EEA requires financial contributions from Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway to reduce social and economic disparities in Europe. In the period from 2004 to 2009, €1.3 billion of project funding is made available for project funding in the 15 beneficiary states in Central and Southern Europe.
Therefore Mr Cameron’s proposal – Sovereign control of the UK’s borders and immigration policy – can ONLY be achieved by withdrawal of the UK not only from the EU but also from the EEA. It would mean that the UK would be free to rejoin EFTA on the same basis as Switzerland; namely, in EFTA but outside the EEA.
This of course is the declared policy of Nigel Farage and UKIP!!!!!!!!
So, what are we to make of David Cameron?
Well the first and most obvious point is this: Cameron is clearly worried about UKIP! It appears that Cameron has become desperate and is now making extraordinary statements to ward off electoral defeat.
There are of course two possibilities insofar as Cameron’s statement is concerned.
The first is this: That Cameron intends to put a demand to the EU that he knows cannot be met. This will provide him with the justification to return from the negotiation and put forward the referendum with the Tories advocating withdrawal.
The second is this: That Cameron put this demand to the EU knowing it cannot be met but comes away with something far short of this. This “compromise” will provide him with the justification to return from the negotiation and put forward the referendum with the Tories advocating the UK’s continued membership.
British Gazette Comment:
Both of these courses will be disastrous for the UK. The negotiations vis-à-vis the UK’s withdrawal from the EU will be among the most important and crucial negotiations for many decades. They will affect the trade with the EU for years to come. It is VITAL that such important negotiations are handled properly and competently. What this means is this: That an OPEN and HONEST approach MUST be made towards the EU. This means that a British government firstly resolves that it is its policy to withdraw from the EU and it then approaches the EU in this regard. That is the internationally accepted way to proceed. Indeed, this is EXACTLY the approach adopted by Mr Alex Salmond and his colleagues in the SNP on the question of Scottish independence. Insofar as the second possibility is concerned; this will merely infuriate the EU members and achieve nothing – except of course to make the Tories unelectable! So Mr Miliband or whoever succeeds him will be happy.
At this point some British Gazette readers may be tempted to suggest that if Cameron however underhandedly he proceeds gives the British People an In/Out referendum and declares his support for withdrawal [of the UK from the EU] this is better than nothing.
This organ would disagree. These negotiations MUST be handled correctly or not at all. We must not put Cameron’s immediate desire to continue being Prime Minister after May 2015 before the interests of the UK.
The ONLY UK government that can properly and competently negotiate a UK withdrawal from the EU is one led by Nigel Farage and UKIP. The plain simple FACT is this: Notwithstanding Nigel Farage’s caustic locutions towards European Union Council President Herman Van Rompuy and sundry others, he is the ONE man in British politics the Europeans would be prepared to deal with in a reasonable manner. This is because throughout his career, Nigel Farage has been consistent in his wish to see the UK leave the EU. This is the one policy that is central to UKIPs existence.
It is far better that the UK have a Labour government led by the inept and incompetent Miliband and to remain in the EU after May 2015 because of ONE SIMPLE FACT: That the UK will be faced with a choice in 2020: that choice will be this:
1. Adopt to Euro and continue as a member of the EU.
2. Retain Sterling, leave the EU and join the EEA.
This is the referendum Unfortunate Ed is referring to!
OK then, where will voting for Option 2 leave the UK? In exactly the same position as Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway – in the EEA but outside the EU. This means that the UK will STILL NOT have Sovereign Control of the borders and inter alia, immigration policy. This means that the UK will STILL HAVE to make payments to the EU. However, the UK will be to use the phrase, “semi-detached” from the EU and will therefore be in a much stronger position to make the final leap to become a fully independent country by leaving the EEA and remaining an EFTA member.
A Labour government after 2015 will have one further advantage. It will keep Scotland as part of the Union. It will be far easier to keep Scotland in the Union by moving towards independence in two stages – EEA in 2020 and EFTA after this.
There is of course another possibility. That the EU will collapse before 2020. The economic consequences of this for the UK will be very serious but it will achieve that which British Gazette readers for the most part desire: the UK free from EU rule.