Beyond the British Veto


Prime Minister David Cameron’s veto of a European Union treaty at the December 2011 European Council summit has led to the increasing isolation of the UK in the debate on the future of Europe and to a striking increase in Eurosceptic pressures on the British Government. This paper addresses the political situation in the UK since Prime Minister Cameron exercised the British veto. It looks at the positions of all the main political parties, pressure groups and public opinion in the aftermath of this watershed moment in Britain’s relations with Europe.

This subject is of great significance for Ireland and for Irish-British relations. As the trajectory of European responses to the on-going euro crisis moves towards consideration of banking, fiscal, economic and, eventually, political union, the debate on Europe within Britain has also evolved. The first part of this paper seeks to summarise the main elements of the debate and to identify the positions taken by the main players. Part Two covers a wide range of speeches and articles on relevant themes and gives details of various studies and other initiatives related to the national debate.

This paper is the second in a series of working papers by the IIEA UK Group on the future of British-Irish relations in a changing EU. The first, Towards an Irish Foreign Policy for Britain, was published in August 2012.