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Sunday, 27th January 2013

Dangerous delusions: British expectations of the future UK-EU relationship

Source: European Policy Centre

The reaction in the UK to Prime Minister David Cameron’s long-expected confirmation that the UK Government (or at least the Conservative part of it) intends to hold a referendum on EU membership by 2017 illustrates just how remote and UK-centric British public debate on the issue has become.

Many parts of the British press, as well as Conservative politicians, claimed that there was support for the UK position in other EU member states. At the same time, significant parts of British industry supported the Prime Minister, emphasising the need for reform of the EU and suggesting that the threat of a ‘Brexit’ would force the rest of Europe to fall in line. These are dangerous delusions, arising from a UK-centric perception of the European integration process.

Even where the initial reaction seemed to be more encouraging, the question is: what price will be extracted in future negotiations, for example regarding the EU’s next Multi-Annual Financial Framework? And overall, the reaction in the rest of Europe was far from supportive. While it is entirely true that virtually no-one wants to see the UK leave, there are limits to the degree to which British exceptionalism can be accommodated.

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Having begun his career in academic libraries, Adrian Janes has subsequently worked extensively in public libraries, chiefly in enquiry work as an Information Services librarian. In this role he has had particular responsibility for information from both the UK Government and the European Union. He wrote a detailed report on sources for the latter which was published by FreePint in 2007, and has contributed articles to FreePint and ResourceShelf. He is involved in training in information literacy and the use of online reference resources.

A Contributing Editor to DocuTicker, he also write reviews for Pennyblackmusic.

More articles by Adrian Janes »

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