On 17 December 2015, EU leaders met in Brussels for the European Council. On the agenda was the planned referendum in the UK (date undecided) on British membership of the EU. Prime Minister David Cameron would like to secure an agreement on a “reformed European Union” ahead of his country’s plebiscite in order to reassure a broadly sceptical public. He believes that other EU countries (especially Eurozone countries) would also like to see fundamental changes to how the EU works, and he argues that his reforms are Britain’s price for deeper Eurozone integration.
Cameron set out four core areas in which he is seeking reforms: firstly, securing guarantees that non-euro countries won’t be disadvantaged in the Single Market; secondly, setting targets for the reduction of EU red tape; thirdly, strengthening the power of national parliaments; and finally, restricting EU migrants’ access to benefits.
Want to learn more about some of the proposed EU reforms? Have a look at our infographic (click on the image for a bigger version):
We had a comment sent in from Limbidis, asking what peoples’ ideal European Union would look like. If you could change something about the EU, what would it be?
To get a response, we spoke to Charles Grant, Director of the Centre for European Reform (CER). He believes that abolishing the European Parliament would be a very positive step. So, if he could wave a magic wand, would he would make the European Parliament disappear in a puff of smoke?
But EU reform is not just about the United Kingdom’s demands. What would other EU countries like to see? We had a comment sent in from Max, who believes that the EU cannot keep its monetary union without a full fiscal and political union. Is he right? Is fiscal union a necessary reform for a sustainable European Union?
We asked Charles Grant to respond:
To get another perspective, we also took Max’s comment to Dr. Tom Casier, Academic Director of the Brussels School of International Studies of the University of Kent. What would he say?
Finally, we had a comment from Proactive, who wonder what would happen if the rest of Europe gave the “cold shoulder” to Cameron’s reform agenda. Would Britain vote to leave the EU? And would Brexit be bad for Europe?
How would Dr. Tom Casier respond?
If you could change one thing about the EU, what would it be? Can Eurozone countries keep the Single Currency without also creating a full fiscal union? And how bad would it be for the rest of Europe if Britain left the EU? Let us know your thoughts and comments in the form below, and we’ll take them to policymakers and experts for their reactions!