Because our EU ‘renegotiation’ achieved so little, commentators have ignored the big concession made to obtain even that.
The renegotiation surrendered Britain’s one remaining bargaining lever – our right to give or withhold consent to future EU treaties (and some directives) required to convert the Eurozone into a Political Union. We could have used that leverage to get powers devolved to the UK in return for agreeing to Eurozone integration – and to block measures harmful to us.
That is no longer possible. The agreement pledges that Britain, “shall not impede the implementation of legal acts directly linked to the functioning of the euro area” and “will not create obstacles to but facilitate such further deepening (i.e. creating a political union)”. This agreement is, according to the Prime Minister, legally binding and eventually interpreted by the European Court.
The UK would be very vulnerable if we remain in the EU on these terms. Although rejecting the EU’s primary purpose (political union) and main projects (the Euro and the Schengen Area), we would still be subject to laws, regulations and budgets set by the countries in those projects.
While our partners sensed that Britain might leave the EU and could impede further integration, they respected our interests. But a vote to remain would signal that we lack the will to govern ourselves. Our interests would henceforth be far down their concerns.
Peter Lilley MP David Davis MP Tim Loughton MP Liam Fox MP David Nuttall MP Chris Heaton-Harris MP Tom Pursglove MP Stewart Jackson MP Jacob Rees- Mogg MP Bernard Jenkin MP Henry Smith MP