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Kent comment: EU referendum promise will be seen as 'self-indulgent' by European partners

University expert on European politics Professor Richard Whitman has suggested that Prime Minister David Cameron's pledge to hold a referendum on UK membership of the EU if his party win the next election will be seen as 'self-indulgent' by other members states. He commented:

'Prime Minister Cameron today delivered the most important government speech on Europe in twenty years. He set out a roadmap for the UK's ambitions for the EU, a call for a new political settlement between EU member states and for this to be codified in a new Treaty.

'The Prime Minister’s speech will be largely viewed as strategy for managing his own political party’s difficulties on EU membership and striking a position that allows him to remove the question of a referendum on EU membership until after the next General Election.

'The speech is less likely to be received positively on the continent than in the UK. Rather, it looks set to open a wider divide between European governments, that wish to see the recovery of the Eurozone as the political priority, and a UK government which appears not to fully recognise that its political priorities are seen as rather self-indulgent.'

'Richard Whitman is Professor of Politics and International Relations at the University's School of Politics and International Relations. He is also an Associate Fellow at Chatham House and chair of the University Association for Contemporary European Studies.



Contact: M.J.Herrema@kent.ac.uk

Story published at 10:05am 24 January 2013

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Last Updated: 12/06/2013