With the ongoing Eurozone crisis, the European Union is changing. These changes are raising a series of questions about the future of the EU and Britain’s place within it.
David Cameron believes we need to be in the single market, not just selling goods to Europe, but with a say in what its rules are. Given that public disillusionment with the EU is at an all-time high and people feel that it is heading in a direction that they never signed up to, democratic consent for the EU in Britain is wafer thin. So the Conservatives want to negotiate a new settlement in Europe. One that is focussed on competitiveness, fairness and respect for national democracies, and one that allows powers to flow back to Member States.
As the Conservatives want fresh consent from the British people for this new settlement in Europe, the Conservative Manifesto for 2015 will commit to negotiating this new settlement in the next Parliament. The British people will then be able to decide, in an in-out referendum, whether they want to remain in the EU on these new terms or come out. This negotiation and the referendum will take place within the first half of the next Parliament.