Open Europe Blog

Cameron pondering life outside the EU?

In his statement on last week’s European Council summit, David Cameron was asked if he could imagine Britain leaving the EU. In the past he has usually batted away at these sorts of questions – but not this time. He said it was not an outcome he wanted, and that he does not spend much time thinking about it, but that:

“All futures for Britain are imaginable. We are in charge of own destiny, we can make our own choices.” 

He added that:

“I believe the choice we should make is to stay in the European Union, to be members of the single market, to maximise our impact in Europe, but where we are unhappy with parts of the relationship we shouldn’t be frightened of standing up and saying so.” 

Significant? Well yes. This is the first time that David Cameron has publicly hinted at the possibility of a Brixit – the UK leaving the EU. This follows several interventions from Tory Bigwigs who’ve said that leaving the EU would not be a disaster, or should at least be the back-up option in case renegotiation fails. With Cameron’s ‘Big Europe Speech’ now set for mid-January, it’ll be hard for him not to frame the issue as “renegotiation or bust”.

The debate is certainly heating up.

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