Archive for février, 2013

FT: Voters Normally Say Yes to Europe!

lundi, février 18th, 2013

Here’s an interesting historical list of 37 EU referenda taken from the Financial Times Westminster Blog, with the headline that Voters normally say yes to Europe, as Britain trundles towards a possible referendum on EU membership.

1. France 1972 (Enlargement) 68.3% YES
2. Ireland 1972 ? EEC Membership 83.1% YES
3. Norway 1972 EEC Membership 53% NO
4. United Kingdom 1975 (Renegotiation) 67% YES
5. Denmark 1986 (Single Act) 56% YES
6. Ireland 1987 (Single Act) 69% YES
7. Ireland 1992 (Maastricht) 69% YES
8. Denmark 1992 (Maastricht) 51% NO
9. France 1992 (Single Act) 51% YES
10. Denmark 1993 (Maastricht) 56% YES
11. Austria 1994 (Membership) 66% YES
12. Finland 1994 (Membership) 59% YES
13. Sweden 1994 Membership): 53% YES
14. Norway 1994 (Membership) 52% NO
15. Ireland 1998 (Amsterdam Treaty) 56% YES
16. Denmark 1998 (Amsterdam Treaty) 55% YES
17. Denmark 2000 (Euro) 56% NO
18. Ireland 2001 (Nice Treaty) 53% NO
19. Ireland 2002 (Nice Treaty) 62% YES
20. Sweden 2003 (Euro) 53% NO
21. Slovakia 2003 94 % YES
22. Malta 2004 (Membership) 53% YES
23. Slovenia 2004 (Membership) 89% YES
24. Hungary 2004 (Membership) 84% YES
25. Lithuania 2004 (Membership) 89% YES
26. Poland 2004 (Membership) 77%YES
27. Czech Republic 2004 (Membership) 77% YES
28. Estonia 2004 (Membership) 64% YES
29. Latvia 2004 (Membership) 67% YES
30. Spain 2005 (European Constitution) 7% YES
31. France 2005 (European Constitution) 54% NO
32. Netherlands 2005 (European Constitution) 61% NO
33. Luxembourg 2005 (European Constitution) 56% YES
34. Ireland 2009 (Lisbon Treaty) 53% NO
35. Ireland (Revised Lisbon treaty) 67% YES
36. Ireland 2012 (EU Fiscal Compact) 60% YES
37. Croatia 2012 (Membership) 67% YES

According to the FT, this past experience would suggest that PM David Cameron could get away with his gamble that the British public would vote to remain in the EU if he can renegotiate some powers away from Brussels and back to the UK.
Is this sufficient evidence of his good judgment or is he taking too much of a gamble eg because UKIP and/or elements within his own party have left him with no choice?

« TO BE OR NOT TO BE » IN by Michael Webster

samedi, février 9th, 2013

Although a life-long supporter of the Conservative Party, I am dismayed by the party’s conduct on the issue of EU membership. The promise to hold a referendum five years from now will depend on its being re-elected in 2015, which is at best uncertain, since parties do not get re-elected when economies are sour. And the opposition does not want to hold one if they win that election.
We are, therefore, committed to a long period of uncertainty, which can only have harmful effects. Probably, the most serious ones will be to diminish our influence with our EU partners and to discourage foreign investment in Britain. It will be bad for business generally, because it is well-known that it does not like uncertainty.
PM Cameron’s chief concern has been his Parliamentary members, it being reported that some 250 out of 304 Party MPs are delighted. It may be of less interest to the public. The Economist magazine reports that  » the voters are less neuralgic about Europe than their representatives at Westminster. When asked which topics most concern them, voters mention Europe much less than they used to. What they worry about is the economy, health care and crime. »
So, by promising a referendum, we may be provoking unnecessary attention to the question, with the risk of a negative vote based on dissatisfaction with Brussels mandates on doctors’ hours of service, convicts’ rights to vote and similar comparatively minor matters, while doing serious harm to our economic interests, a cause of great concern to our business leaders.
And all this to achieve a result to which the leaders of all the political parties,except UKIP, are opposed.