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British referendum points to need for a different EU

24 June 2016

British referendum points to need for a different EU

Foto: SP

The result of the referendum in the United Kingdom demonstrates that the EU cannot continue on the same path, according to SP European affairs spokesman Harry van Bommel, who called the British decision to leave an ‘irreversible change for the European Union’. The most important lesson to be drawn from this referendum is in Van Bommel’s opinion the fact that, under pressure, negotiation space will open for fundamental transformation of the EU. “The Netherlands should take its example from this and put our demands for such a change on the negotiating table,” he says.

Now that the majority of UK citizens have opted for ‘leave’, the European Council will be forced to reflect on the EU’s future. The deal concluded between British Prime Minister David Cameron and the EU was evidently not enough to reassure the people that the country would maintain complete sovereignty. The SP was positive about some of the agreements which the UK and EU made, particularly the red card enabling member states to reject European Commission proposals, which restored in part the formers’ sovereignty. The SP has long advocated the abolition of the European Commission and the red card is an important step in that direction. The rejection of an ‘ever closer union’ is a position that the SP shares and will be putting to the Dutch government as a demand. Next Monday the national Parliament in The Hague will debate the outcome of the British referendum.

Van Bommel is pleased by the position taken by German Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel who yesterday spoke out in favour of a special additional European Council summit to enable a broad discussion of the future of the EU. “Only with an open discussion and an honest answer to justifiable euroscepticism can we preserve the EU,” he says. “Pushing on towards a federal EU is unthinkable. The issue now is to value and preserve the advantages of European cooperation but junk forever the undemocratic diktats of the European Commission.”

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