Europe in danger over Cameron’s plans, warns EU president
European leaders are fearful that the UK’s plans to repatriate powers from the EU could severely damage the union, put the single European market at risk and isolate Britain.
With regards to a possible new relationship, Herman van Rompuy, president of the European Council, told the Guardian on Thursday that member states cannot “cherry pick” which union policies they abide by, and such moves to “undermine” the union would result in an unravelling of the single market.
The council’s president added that a UK exit would “see a friend walk off into the desert”. The UK’s contributions to the EU have been ample, particularly with regards to the single market, making a departure a potential disaster.
“British expertise in the fields of foreign policy, finance and trade shape the EU’s policies in these fields. It has led the way on climate change and development aid. It has offered us the English language, now in practice the lingua franca of Europe,” said van Rompuy.
German finance minister Wolfgang Schauble, along with van Rompuy, believes that the UK has more to lose than gain in such a departure, chiefly economic prosperity and political stability. Schauble told the Guardian: “Without the EU as an amplifier, Britain’s influence in the world would be lessened. No European country alone can make its voice heard in today’s globalised world.”
Lucy Cait Jordan