UK’s exit debate

Britain is in the midst of a debate on its future role with the European Union.

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Published: Tue 21 Oct 2014, 10:36 PM

Last updated: Fri 3 Apr 2015, 9:44 PM

Apart from the UK Independence Party, which has upped the ante by giving Tories a tough time, the outgoing president of the European Commission has come out with a counter theory of his own. Jose Manuel Barroso believes that without the EU, Britain will have less influence. The somber seasoned diplomat went on to the extent of saying that the UK could not negotiate with the United States and China on an equal footing on its own.

These remarks were bound to solicit a rebuttal, as the ruling conservatives are in a fix after having lost to the UKIP. Prime Minister David Cameron’s desire to hold an in-out referendum in 2017, if the party won the next year general elections is in the eye of the storm. Though Cameron and his like are very much in favour of remaining part and parcel of the 28-member bloc, sceptics and those who want to cash in on the argument of more sovereignty for Britain are out to grab the opportunity.

That is why 10 Downing Street not only took an exception to Barroso’s remarks but also reminded the electorate that London is working on a reforms package wherein it will renegotiate its status in the European Union. Will that tantamount to opening a Pandora’s box or gaining political currency on the eve of polls is anybody’s guess. The issues that stir this debate and make it a focal aspect of public life are immigration, right to work and economic empowerment.

Cameron at this point of time has to fight on two fronts simultaneously: the rise of UKIP and the pressure from the EU to stay glued to it. This is no less tougher than convincing the Scotts to stay back with the Union Jack.

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