Originally published on 2013/01/25
It was a long-awaited speech. Here in the Netherlands, people have been waiting impatiently for David Cameron’s arrival to The Hague and finally sighed because it was cancelled due to heavy snow. If only the speech were scheduled here today as I am writing, sitting in a café while glancing outside from time to time to enjoy the white picture of a sunny winter afternoon!
The speech was given yesterday morning. Its content was quite explicative and daring. To sum it up very roughly, the Prime Minister explains the UK’s vision of the European Union and the reasons why he is planning to hold an in-out referendum, although not for now but after the next UK general election (May 2015). No, the UK is not planning to leave the EU (because the consequences for the country and the EU itself would be disastrous). It wants the EU to consider the UK’s vision of the EU, based on “five principles”: Competitiveness, flexibility, a better circulation or balance of powers (allowing certain powers to flow back to the member states rather than just one way -from the Member states to the EU), democratic accountability and fairness. This is not completely an intergovernmental view of integration, yet a step further from the supranational view.
David Cameron has been certainly heard by EU leaders. Is he going to find allies to realise this vision within the EU? The Netherlands’ government seems to be the most open, showing its willingness to welcome him to deliver his speech on Dutch soil. Moreover, the Netherlands have been showing supports for the UK’s strong measures of austerity to confront the EU financial and debt crises. So, what do you think about this?
Disclaimer: You can read and watch the full speech here.