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Is the EU-UK deal over Brexit a threat to the EU’s future?

The London-Brussels agreement reached last week continues to receive wide coverage in today’s media outlets, especially in France and in the UK, mostly expressing concerns towards EU’s future. “A symbolic blow to Europe,” reads a Libération headline while, along the same lines, a title of Le Quotidien reads “The European disunion.”

Libération notes indeed that the deal has achieved mixed results on the British front while raising a number of issues on the European front because of the “ambiguity” and “vagueness” of the compromise. The concessions obtained by British Prime Minister Cameron are insufficient to convince British Eurosceptics, but they set a dangerous precedent for Europe, adds the daily’s editorial. Speaking of the UK’s status of “special member state” within the EU, Le Monde‘s editorial says that the threat of a “tailor-made Europe”, which means a Union even weaker than it is today, has never been so close. A Brexit could be a deadly blow for an EU that is already in an advanced state of decay.

In case of a Brexit, the EU would not be the only one to suffer, with Pro-European Scotland that could decide to exit the UK, adds the French editorial. In an interview granted to La Croix, Lukas Macek, who heads Sciences Po Paris’s European campus in Dijon, says that the EU-UK agreement is “bad” because of the serious – albeit symbolic – problem of exempting the UK from the “ever closer union” ambition. “The Union cannot work without minimum solidarity and the willingness to build a common destiny, namely without political ambition,” he further stresses.

In a critical tone towards the EU, ALDE MEP Marielle De Sarnez speaking on BFM TV says she “disapproves of the fact that EU leaders accepted to give in to David Cameron’s blackmail. I want the UK to stay in the EU but I don’t like some little bargaining between friends.” Along the same lines, Público’s José Vitor Malheiros points out that, once again, the agreement reached has proven that there is no equality among EU member states. There is no treaty principle that cannot be forgotten or modified for the benefit of a rich and powerful country and for the convenient reinforcement of another right wing government, he adds.

In other related news, the press, such as Talouselämä and Postimees, recalls that the referendum on UK’s membership in the EU will take place on 23rd June. Commissioner for Economic and Financial Affairs Pierre Moscovici said that the European Commission does not have a plan B in case the British citizens vote in favour of Britain’s withdrawal from the EU, report for instance Naftemporiki and mediafax.ro.  The EC’s Chief Spokesperson  said that the EC will not conduct a campaign and will not intervene in the public discussion concerning Britain’s stay in the EU or not in view of the referendum, add the Greek newspaper, Trouw, Expansion, and Alithia, among others.

Along the same lines, The Daily Telegraph says that European Council President Donald Tusk will not allow Britain to return to Brussels and ask for a better deal if voters reject EU membership. In a column for Salzburger Nachrichten, Stephanie Pack notes that the European Commission remains tight-lipped on the question of what will happen if Britain votes itself out of the EU.

In more specific British internal affairs, an editorial in The Guardian claims that British PM Cameron yesterday presented the government’s case for remaining in the EU in terms of high seriousness and practicality. Repubblica.it provides further details saying that Mr Cameron stressed that the UK can be an even greater country if it is a member of the EU. He warned that leaving the EU would be a “leap into the dark” for the economy and would jeopardise national and economic security.

Les Echos adds that the debate in the House of Commons showcased once again the divisions on the EU in the conservative party, i.e. at least 144 MPs of 330 will campaign for the Brexit. The left-wing Labour opposition is apparently more united on that front, with only 9 out of 231 MPs saying they will campaign for leaving the EU. Several media report on Boris Johnson’s recent statement, saying he will begin a campaign in favour of Brexit, as noted in Naftemporiki, Wiadomosci, Vecer and Vercernji List.

In an appearance before the House of Commons yesterday, Mr Cameron openly condemned Mr Johnson, note among others, The Daily Telegraph and The Irish Times. The British PM suggested that the Mayor of London made his decision to campaign to take Britain out of the EU simply to further his own ambition to become prime minister.

 

©europeanunion2016

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