On the 3rd October 2011 I wrote a post on the relationship between the UK and the EU ( http://lordsoftheblog.net/2011/10/03/winds-of-change/ ) I think the potential threat to British policy is growing more significant. David Cameron is being excluded from the key decisions in Europe. Germany and France are determined to put the political structure of the EU before the immediate solution of the economic crisis.
After the Second World War the countries of Europe and particularly Germany were very anxious to have the UK fully involved. France alone ( under De Gaulle) was reluctant. I think our reluctance to be a full member has led over the years to a feeling in Continental Europe that if we don’t want to be fully involved then the key members will make progress towards a united Europe on their own. I think they will succeed.
We forget in Britain that the political imperative in Europe is driven by strong memories of nations defeated and occupied in two disastrous wars. Britain alone of the warring nations was neither defeated nor occupied. So the Continental powers do have a more compelling political drive then we do.
I think the Euro will succeed and it looks increasingly likely that we will remain outside. In these circumstances Frankfurt will become the financial centre for Europe and increasingly challenge the City of London. As the other nations sign up to the Euro Britain will be forced to choose between joining the new super power or becoming an important but much reduced power outside. What happens then will largely be determined by policies in the new Europe. Will they want to erect trade barriers? Will they negotiate for the UK in international treaties like trade and climate change – or will we negotiate on our own? Will they create their own defence structures? Will Britain retain its seat on the UN Security Council of the UN or be replaced by a new European member?
We need to be thinking of these issues because Europe is no longer waiting for us.