British Prime Minister David Cameron Warns of Possible UK Exit from the European Union

A speech that was to be delivered by United Kingdom Prime Minister David Cameron but was canceled due to a hostage crisis in Algeria warns that Britain could leave the European Union if reforms to the EU’s present form of governance are not pursued according to excerpts released on Friday, January 18.

His speech, which was to be delivered in Amsterdam, outlines a scaled-down role for Britain in continental Europe, likely in reaction to the forces of expediency that are currently pressuring the other 25 member states to seek increased fiscal union in order to save the beleaguered euro currency.

The United Kingdom famously rejected participation in the continental currency scheme, and has no intentions on joining it at any time in the future. Without reforms, the speech predicts, the United Kingdom will inevitably drift away from the EU and the European project as a whole will fail.

David Cameron’s proposed speech drew criticism from Washington which stressed that a strong UK operating within the EU was in the United States’ best interests long-term. Cameron’s reform proposals, which include voter referendums, were also criticized.

A few excerpts from the planned speech are below:

If we don’t address these challenges, the danger is that Europe will fail and the British people will drift toward the exit. … I do not want that to happen. I want the European Union to be a success, and I want a relationship between Britain and the E.U. that keeps us in it.

People are increasingly frustrated that decisions taken further and further away from them mean their living standards are slashed through enforced austerity, or their taxes are used to bail out governments on the other side of the Continent.

And yes, of course, we are seeing this frustration with the E.U. very dramatically in BritainEurope’s leaders have a duty to hear these concerns. And we have a duty to act on them.


[The New York Times]