Open Europe, a UK “Think Tank”, based in London is staging what they describe as the First Ever Simulation of Negotiations that could shape the UK’s future in the EU. The UK’s Prime Minister’s position is that he wishes to renegotiate the terms of membership of the EU or at least have Europe change some of the controls and regulations across the union.
David Cameron is not alone in seeking reforms. Many countries and business leaders express disquieted on particular aspects of the direction which Europe has taken in recent years. Last week, Matteo Renzi the expected new leader of Italy’s main centre left party says he would renegotiate the EU’s deficit limit of 3 per cent of GDP arguing that it dates back to the Maastrict Treaty. The CEO of Polish Oil joined the call for reform when he criticised what he described as “Over Regulation which is sapping the commercial creativity and dynamism of the continent”. The UK Government has raised concerns that migrants are arriving in the UK to avail of its welfare benefits. Some UK Conservative MPs are calling for the transitional labour market controls to be extended to 2018 when they lapse in January next. The Romanian Employment Minister has said that the UK should be grateful for Romanians and Bulgarians who are prepared to do jobs shunned by British workers. The EU Commissioner Viviane Reding said last week that Britain’s welfare system is too generous. “Don’t blame the Commission or EU rules for national choices and national regulatory systems”.
The German Interior Minister Peter Friedrich speaking last Thursday said that Romania and Bulgaria are unprepared to enter Schengen, the free movement area. In the Netherlands there is cross party support to limit Social Welfare benefits to migrants. Their Employment Minister is said to have raised the matter at a meeting of Employment Ministers when they meet yesterday. In the War Games, an impressive group of European experts will each play the role of a country or a group of countries. John Bruton the former Taoiseach and EU Ambassador to the US will represent the EU Commission’s position in the games. Two scenarios are to be played out during the course of the day. The first will explore what areas of reforms are open to renegotiation and what changes may be possible. The second game will focus on Brittain leaving the union and the terms on which it may do so.
This seems to be the first stage of forcing all, to seriously consider the real implication, not only of the UK’s attitude to the EU, but also what alliances may potentially exist to shape the altered Europe after the UK forces the reconsideration of the relationship between the 28 member states.