Europe

Au revoir Europe

by The Business Blog, with Trevor Sturgess Tuesday, December 13 2011

Good riddance!

You can imagine that retort ringing out on both sides of the Channel after the UK turned its back on a new European treaty.

I don’t know what the French or German equivalent is - maybe they don’t have one - but the feeling is pretty mutual.

Most British people don’t want closer ties with the EU, although many stop short of wanting to get out altogether.

Most Europeans don’t like us much, and the Eastern newcomers even less - after all, they hardly ever give us more than Nul Points in the Eurovision Song Contest.

The worry about David Cameron’s decision is that it will prove even harder for Kent firms to win work on the Continent, especially in France.

It has been hard enough already, with the French in particular erecting unspoken but real barriers to outside competition.

If Brussels talk of revenge seeps through to potential buyers across the EU, fostering an undeserved anti-British feeling, that’s bad news for our businesses desperate to boost imports at a time of falling orders at home.

The hope is that any bitterness felt across the EU about Britain’s decision will not last long and that trade - the main reason we joined the EU and why a majority supported membership in a referendum - will fade.

As for the decision, it is hard to see how any other could have been reached.

Maybe an alternative negotiating strategy that stroked the backs of Merkozy would have worked better. It is intriguing in the What If Game to ponder whether the approach of a belligerent handbag-waving Margaret Thatcher or an emollient Tony Blair or Gordon Brown would have fared better.

Probably not.  But with the eurozone financial crisis set to deepen, and the euro in great jeopardy, it is surely better to be the one independent-minded lemming that turns away from the cliff rather than follow its mates over the edge.

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Categories: Education | Europe

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