Fine Gael Ireland South MEP, Deirdre Clune, has said that whether Britain decides to stay or leave the EU, David Cameron’s reform demands will have to be addressed
“The Brexit referendum, regardless of the outcome, has thrown up key challenges for Europe. Even if Britain, Brussels will have to address the reform points raised in David Cameron’s letter to Donald Tusk last November and subsequent deal.
“David Cameron set out a number of clear points of reform that the UK wanted, in a letter to Donald Tusk last November. Those demands included:
· targets to cut the amount of regulation and red tape coming from Europe for business
· ending Britain’s obligation to engage in ‘ever closer union’, as set out in the Treaties
· new proposals that national parliaments working together can stop legislative proposals
· changes to the rules around welfare entitlements for EU immigrant workers coming to the UK
· a commitment to abide by the principle Europe where necessary, national where possible
· a crackdown on the abuse of the free movement of persons principle.
“If Britain remains in the EU, and I sincerely hope it does, we will have a period of negotiations, of the reforms that David Cameron’s government has set out. That begs the question, as to what other member states will want, if they see that Britain is getting concessions. Cameron’s demand to end Britain’s obligation to engage in ‘ever closer union’, may require a treaty change at EU level and this may require an Irish referendum. Other member states may also want to opt out of more EU integration which could change the future direction of the European project. Other member states may threaten exit referendums if their individual reform demands are not met, which could open a Pandora’s Box for Brussels.
“I think now is the time to listen to people’s real concerns on the European project and act on them, to reshape and reform the EU. Many of those reforms, set out by Britain before the referendum are sensible reforms that Ireland has supported. The EU must be big on the big things, but small on the small things and cannot be a source of continuous unnecessary red tape. I think people have an issue with the perception that unelected officials are making decisions that impact them. David Cameron’s call for a strengthened role for national parliaments would be one positive reform, which would give more power back to elected representatives in Europe.
“The key positive of our EU membership has been the Single Market, which has provided jobs and growth for Ireland. We must fight to ensure that this is preserved, along with the free movement of both goods and people. I would support the UK’s assertion of Europe where necessary, national where possible, in ensuring that decisions that impact us all are made at a national and local level if and where possible.
“The EU project is in danger of unravelling, if we do not continue to improve the structures and processes of the union. The EU has had an enormously positive impact on Ireland and most other European economies. If Britain leaves, this may lead to a domino effect of other countries leaving. Regardless of the outcome of the vote, what is very clear now is that Brussels needs to sit up and take note of the conversations that have happened during the Brexit debate.”