Britain's EU membership revisited

Dec. 31, 2012 at 1:31 PM

LONDON, Dec. 31 (UPI) -- Business lobbyists in Europe are proposing Britain reduce its membership status in the European Union, but keep ties to the EU under a new designation.

The Daily Telegraph reported Monday that the Union of European Federalists has proposed that Britain be offered an "associate membership," which would keep Britain involved, but cancel its veto power with the European Council and its commissioner in Brussels.

The idea is to prevent Britain from leaving the European Union, so it could keep the trade benefits of the EU, but reduce its role as a spoiler. Currently, the UEF said, British Prime Minister David Cameron is viewed as a "continual impediment" to EU affairs, given the European Union has been moving toward more integration on financial and budgetary matters.

Cameron believes a new EU treaty will be required to make tighter integration possible, which would represent an opening for the creation of an associate membership status, the newspaper said.

"If David Cameron proposes a catalogue of opt-outs, derogations, red lines and rebates for Britain to pick and choose, then he will strengthen the argument for a formal association for the U.K.," said Andrew Duff,.a Liberal Democrat Party member of Parliament and the president of the UEF.

The UEF is an umbrella organization that represents 19 organizations from across Europe.

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