Thursday, 25 February 2016

The Guardian: Message to Michael Gove: this deal is binding, and it’s the best Britain will get

The Guardian: Message to Michael Gove: this deal is binding, and it’s the best Britain will get

"Even before these negotiations, Britain enjoyed a raft of opt-outs: from the euro to the Schengen agreement, from justice and home affairs measures to working-time safeguards. Many of these are deeply resented by other European governments. Despite this, the EU has now gone even further by creating a new form of “special status” membership for the UK.

I was therefore gobsmacked that the London mayor, Boris Johnson, not only refused to back his leader but went so far as to claim that Britain should vote no in the upcoming referendum, in order to strengthen the UK’s negotiating position post-referendum. As a Belgian I have an ingrained appreciation of surrealism, but Johnson’s strategy is beyond surreal: it is ludicrous.

First, a no vote on 23 June will be seen by the rest of the EU as an unqualified rejection by the UK of Europe. Instead of spending time discussing a collective response to the refugee crisis, or preparing fresh economic sanctions against Russia for its disgraceful actions in Syria, Europe’s leaders have instead spent many months attempting to redefine Britain’s membership. There is simply no appetite on the continent for another protracted renegotiation. If Johnson doesn’t believe me, he should come back to Brussels – a town he claims to know well – and ask around."

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