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David Cameron mans the phones for the Remain campaign: The renegotiation has made a Europe of “concentric circles” possible (©Stefan Rousseau/AFP/Getty Images)


About 30 years ago, I wrote a pamphlet entitled Drift to Union. I explained that the EU was headed down two parallel tracks. The first was leading to the formation of a free-trade single market in goods and services. The second was leading towards a quite different destination — the establishment of a new political, fiscal and monetary union which would gradually become a United States of Europe.

I argued that the national interest of Britain lay in remaining part of the free-trade single market while staying out of the political, fiscal and monetary union.

I also argued that, in order to achieve this enviable best of both worlds, we needed to promote not a so-called “two-speed Europe” but a two-destination Europe.

The point of this two-destination Europe would be to create concentric circles. Countries in the inner circle would participate in the monetary union which, even 30 years ago, was clearly intended to be the precursor of full political and fiscal union. By contrast, countries like the UK in the outer circle would participate only in the free-trade single market.

Over the ensuing 30 years, we have witnessed a succession of treaties which the UK signed without the people of the UK being given the right to decide in a referendum. Throughout those years, I prayed and hoped for a time when a British government would renegotiate the terms of our membership and create the opportunity for us to be in an outer, free-trade circle of the EU while enabling some other member states to be in an inner circle of emerging political, fiscal and monetary union.

But I recognised that, in order to reach this position, we had to make a series of fundamental changes. First, we had to establish in a binding international agreement a fundamental shift in the concept of “ever closer union”. Since the time of the original founding treaties, “ever closer union” has been regarded by the European Commission and the Court of Justice of the EU as the goal towards which all member states are aiming. To create a Europe of concentric circles, it was clear that we needed this idea of “ever closer union” to be redefined as a phrase that describes the ambition only of some, voluntarily self-selected EU member states, and hence as a phrase that does not apply — legally or constitutionally — to other states like the UK, who have no desire at any time to be part of any inner circle involving political, fiscal and monetary union. 

Second, we had to establish that the EU is and will remain permanently a multi-currency area — with proper arrangements to protect the position of those member states like the UK who wish permanently to retain their own currencies, their own monetary authorities, their own fiscal control and, in short, their own power over the economy and public spending which is the foundation of independent government.

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Gillian Hartnett
June 2nd, 2016
7:06 PM
Well written, thoughful and clever as I would expect from a decent bloke, an honourable man and with bags of savoir-faire in the political arena. Unfortunately, he majors on relative minors in the face of real issues that the political, academic, media and left/liberal elites have long ignored, have long negated or marginalised. I look in vain for the word "sovereignty" for "Andreasen", for "Herron/Thorburn"...and year upon year of mission creep from Brussels crepps who truly ARE on a mission. To extinguish our democracy...to reduce the little plebs, the unenlightened to being vassals of a political EUSSR. In short "forcing us all to be free" as Rousseau would have us believe. There is no way to recall a Letwin in Brussels, whereas he is accountable to his Dorset constituents...whcih allows us to meet him, trust him and vote for him-or otherwise. It simply makes no sense to let Brussels create its monstrous Fourth Reich, albeit in lime green and pastel shades-nor do we want to be on the hook for the inevitable collapse of the Euro, the malicious incompetence of their coming EU Army, their sieve-like security, their plans to bring Turkey into the witches brew for Islamic hegemony to follow the demographics now in train. The duplicity, the deceptions, the sly sidling into an EU superstate all hog tied for Colognes finest, for Molenbeecks sleepers is typical wrong-headed massaging of Europes people for the hell to come...and, plausible that Mr Letwin is-I see no answers to migration, to the democratic deficit and to the Five Presidents plans for further "inclusion" to the European Project...why he wants us to shackle ourselves to this zombie corpse of 1950s style grand projets is beyond me. Hope to God we vote No on the 23rd...even Mr Letwin will age to thank us if we do...

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