Destinations Magazine

Battling with Britain

By Stizzard
Battling with Britain

LIKE blows from a fearsome heavyweight, the crises keep raining down upon Europe’s battered brow. Refugees, terrorism, Syria, Russia, Greece and Britain’s threat to quit the European Union: collectively they have left the EU punch-drunk and gasping for breath. But one of these problems is different from the others.

The migration crisis was a product of epic forces outside Europe’s borders; the Greek row stemmed from a mismatch between democracy and the rules of euro membership. But Britain’s “renegotiation” of its EU membership, ahead of an in/out referendum to be held (probably) next year, looks like a self-inflicted wound. Why should semi-detached Britain seek yet more special treatment? Europeans are exasperated. Foreign friends, from Hong Kong to America, are baffled. All are worried.

How did it come to this? For months negotiations proceeded quietly as David Cameron, Britain’s prime minister, took his concerns to other EU leaders and Eurocrats in Brussels oversaw technical talks. British diplomacy was conducted “very skilfully”, says one. Even the French were starting to believe that Britain was seeking not to wreck the project,…

The Economist: Europe

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