British or European?

General - Interesting Topics

It is no secret that Prime Minister David Cameron is considering pulling the UK out of the European Union or at least renegotiating significant changes to the UK’s membership in an attempt to return some power and sovereignty to the UK. David Cameron has concerns over the integration of the Eurozone and wants to protect the UK, particularly in light of the problems faced by the single market and the euro crash.

There is no denying that being a member of the European Union impacts on the sovereignty of the UK and its ability to write laws. With the mandatory incorporation of EU Directives into UK law it impacts on the areas that the UK is able to regulate itself via domestic law. With EU regulation having spread into many different areas of law it is inevitable that more areas of law currently under domestic regulation will fall into the scope of the EU at some point in the future. Many people fear that if EU regulation grows the UK will lose its cultural identity and forge a European identity that will usurp and replace our domestic identity.

However, not all people share this opinion and think that EU regulation is positive and should remain. Take for example the European Arrest Warrant (EAW) which enables people who have committed a crime to be arrested all over Europe and taken back to the country in which the crime was committed to face prosecution. Take the case of Robbie Hughes, a British man who was attacked by a gang of British men whilst on holiday in Greece in 2008. The attack left him close to death and caused him to lose his sense of taste and smell and all memories of his family and friends. The EAW enabled the arrest and extradition of the British men responsible for the attack to Greece to face trial for the attack. This resulted in four of the men being convicted and sentenced to prison and was all down to the effectiveness of the EAW. One view is that if the UK left the EU then many criminals would be able to escape extradition and therefore prosecution. The EAW ensures that this does not happen and makes it very difficult for criminals to dodge prosecution for their crimes by border-hopping. Is this really something we want to lose?

It is clear there are pros and cons with the UK’s membership of the EU but a hasty exit is not necessarily the answer. As suggested by David Cameron, a renegotiation of the terms forming the basis of the UK’s membership would be the best starting point but failing any agreement between the UK and the EU an exit may be the only option.

David Cameron is due to give his long-awaited speech on the UK’s relationship with the EU this week which is likely to detail the government’s current view on EU membership and what needs to change for UK membership to continue.

All information is correct on the date of posting.