David Cameron's EU renegotiation strategy must focus on alternative to 'ever closer union'
Pivotal moment to position single market as the foundation of future EU-UK relationship, argues leading think tank.
British prime minister David Cameron has a "unique opportunity to set the EU and Britain's relationship with it on a different course", according to a newly published report.
'A blueprint for EU reform', published today (June 9) is the latest report on the UK's troubled relationship with Europe by leading euro critical think tank, Open Europe.
The 10 page document outlines a list of proposed reforms which the organisation's chairman Lord Leach believes Cameron should use as a basis for setting out "an alternative vision to 'ever closer union' and to establish the single market as the foundation of the EU."
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"David Cameron has a unique opportunity to set the EU and Britain's relationship with it on a different course", Leach added.
The 11 proposed reforms include areas such as developing a twin speed approach to further EU integration which Open Europe say simply reflects the "multi-form reality of the EU", plans to give national parliaments a 'red card' veto to collectively block new EU legislation, based say the authors on subsidiarity or proportionality grounds, and the option to allow member states to restrict access to welfare benefits for non-nationals.
The think tank argues that Cameron should use the upcoming EU summit at the end of June to launch his negotiation plans for a "new settlement that leads to a genuine change of direction to Britain's relationship with the EU".
They also suggest that if his efforts are to be judged successful then the planned 2017 Brexit referendum "should not simply be a vote to approve or reject a list of concessions to the UK but rather a mandate for a path to rolling reform".
"Reform should not be a one off event before the referendum but an on-going process", said Leach, adding that, "Cameron may not achieve everything before 2017 but he needs to secure a decisive shift to a new structure for the EU which halts the UK being unwillingly dragged into any further integration".
Click here to access the Open Europe blueprint for EU reform report