Europe restructures and the UK rejoins. Could it happen?

Europe restructures and the UK rejoins. Could it happen?

Could the EU possibly reform and restructure itself to the point where Britain would vote to rejoin? The idea isn’t as far-fetched as it may currently sound, and was discussed in the Financial Times recently. 

Most people would agree that the EU currently has some serious problems. Monetary union is not working well, immigration and freedom of movement policies are muddled and ineffective and the UK is about to leave. 

Add to that Poland’s decision to veto a resolution as a protest against Donald Tusk, and a vociferous chorus in France and Italy calling for an exit from the Euro. On Europe’s borders, an increasingly assertive Russia and a Nato-sceptical President Trump don’t look like a great combination for European security. 

Europe finds itself in a trap. It needs to integrate further if it is going to manage its monetary union across divergent economies. It needs to be making a credible response to Russia. But to do this requires a level of treaty change that will never be accepted by all members of the EU. 

So a multi-speed Europe begins to look increasingly attractive. “Big Europe” would be allowed to disintegrate. What would emerge at the centre would be “Core Europe” - an inner group of nations which would then move to deeper political and fiscal integration.

Core Europe would be surrounded by a less tightly integrated set of countries “Federal Europe”, sharing the single market but not the currency and not getting involved in deeper financial, legal and governmental integration. So for example, a commitment to freedom of movement might be obligatory for Core Europe, but optional for Federal Europe.

This looks like a more flexible structure and one that the UK could even find a place in, given time. 

Date: 17 March 2017, 13:29 pm
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