Bad Time to Play Call My Bluff

By Niblett, Robin | The World Today, October/November 2012 | Go to article overview
Save to active project

Bad Time to Play Call My Bluff


Niblett, Robin, The World Today


Britain should engage with a multi-tier Europe, argues Robin Niblett

In recent weeks, the European Central Bank has committed to stem the run on vulnerable EU sovereign debt, Germany's Constitutional Court has approved German participation in the EU's new bailout fund and Dutch voters have rejected Eurosceptic parties in their parliamentary election. These events have added momentum to the possibility that eurozone members will establish some sort of fiscal union within the next year or two.

For its part, the British Government is in the early stages of an audit of the impact of all EU legislation on Britain. This study, it has been argued, will provide the ammunition for Britain to negotiate a repatriation of certain EU powers in return for British acquiescence in the establishment of the fiscal union under a formal EU treaty.

There are two problems with this approach. First, other EU members have little interest in allowing Britain to repatriate powers in the sorts of areas that Conservatives are seeking. They fear this could open a Pandora's box of similar requests from other members. Just as important, the majority of other EU member states are about to tie their economic fates more closely together than ever before. This is hardly the moment to hand Britain further commercial advantages.

Euro members already resent the fact that Britain was able to let the pound devalue at the start of the financial crisis, making its exports to eurozone members that much cheaper.

Britain, with new opt-outs on working time regulations and other labour laws - which are top of the list for Conservatives - but with continuing unfettered access to the single market, could suck jobs and investment away from its EU partners. And new safeguards for the British financial services sector could concentrate EU financial services further in London.

EU members might conclude that it would be better to call Britain's bluff. They could refuse to negotiate a compromise, open the door to a British referendum and, if a recent Chatham House/YouGov survey were to be proved accurate, accept the likely British popular decision to leave the EU. Britain would then find itself still inside the EU's single market, but excluded from designing the rules that would determine its access to that market.

For some EU members, this would be a positive outcome - Britain may become a relatively less attractive destination for foreign investment; and London could lose some if its appeal for European banks, which might build an alternative EU financial centre. Pressure to open up the EU services market, resisted by France among others, would decline.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited article

Bad Time to Play Call My Bluff
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?