There won’t be any reform in the EU, so Britain should look at other opportunities around the globe, as EU membership isn't beneficial anymore, Robert Oulds, head of the neo-liberal think-tank The Bruges Group, told RT.
RT: George Osborne says 'no reforms - no Britain in the EU'. How serious is he? Is it really London's final warning?
Robert Oulds: There won’t be any reform in the EU, it can’t actually change. And hopefully, we will have a referendum. The British public still needs to pressure the politicians to deliver the referendum they have promised. So we, the British public, can have this and hopefully will vote to leave the European Union because we are very pessimistic about the chances of the EU changing. It’s been in existence since 1957, it’s about ever-closer union, it's about more regulation, it’s about less power for nation states, more powerful unaccountable bureaucracy that is not going to change in the time frame the government is giving it.
RT: The European economy is slowly recovering... Do you think Britain's Treasury chief is exaggerating when he says the EU is declining?
RO: The economic crisis is actually spreading throughout the EU. Unemployment is still dangerously high in countries like Greece, which has 27% unemployment and over 60% youth unemployment. The same is in Spain, Italy is lurching from crisis to crisis. Britain is on the up but it’s not in the euro [zone] and that’s one of the key aspects because France has also got developing economic problems, as well as political problems. So the economic crisis in the European Union is spreading and it does seem to be only Germany that is benefiting for the time-being.
RT: Is Britain really going to pull out any time soon?
RO: That can happen if the politicians are forced into giving us a referendum. David Cameron committed to have a referendum in 2017, he has committed previously to hold a referendum on the Lisbon treaty but got out of that one. This time we mustn’t let it happen. We need to make sure that there is a referendum, because British membership cannot continue without the consent of the British public. It’s the key democratic principal, there should be a referendum, it’s pretty much established, and the Labour Party needs to be pressured into holding this as well. There is that possibility that we are likely to hear the calling for the poll as most people at the moment will actually vote to exit the European Union rather than remain as members.
RT: Euro-bashing is always a crowd-pleaser for any politician's home crowd. But is Europe really what's bothering the people of Britain right now?
RO: This is absolutely fundamental. Most British people do actually want a referendum, more than 80% say they want to vote on the membership in the EU. It’s absolutely fundamental to our economy as well because at the moment having to pay billions each year to Brussels, EU red tape is holding back the British economy as well as other European nations as well. It’s not in our economic benefit, things really must change. The EU doesn’t have much of an economic future, it is declining as a bloc. So Britain should look at other opportunities that await us around the globe.
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