British Foreign Secretary: UK wants 'fast' EU settlements

UK’s foreign secretary states Britain wants settlement with EU to happen as fast as possible

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Updated Jul 28, 2015

On Friday, British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said the United Kingdom wants a “fast” settlement process, which made the UK a “wholehearted participant” within the EU, the Financial Times reported.

Hammond made his comments on the possible EU membership in the NATO meeting for foreign ministers in Antalya, Turkey.

Hammond’s stress on speed came after the Bank of England governor Mark Carney urged the new British government to hurry up because “uncertainty is affecting business confidence.”

The newly-elected Prime Minister David Cameron had promised the British People a “simple referendum of in or out” of the EU immediately after the election. The legislation is ready but the anticipated referendum date is 2017.

The referendum date has been considered as too far away and it affected business negatively in the UK.

Hammond believes that the possibilities of finding solutions for an early referendum increased with a goal with the “appropriate speed.”

“That is how I want this process to end up: a good package of reforms; a ‘yes’ vote; and a step change in the way the relationship works, with Britain being really engaged and a loud voice in the union,” said Hammond.

“If they [our partners] enthusiastically embrace the [reform] agenda . . . we would move as fast as possible. We want to finish this as soon as we can. But it is most important to get it right. There may be an appetite in some of the powerful member states to move fast.”

Hammond also mentioned the indetermination of the EU member countries due to Britain’s demanding treaty changes. He said the UK will start “on the basis of the substance.”

“It does not mean we need treaty change for the politics — the issue is how to protect the [measures] from legal challenge.” Hammond said, when he mentioned Cameron’s thoughts on the treaty change.

Prime Minister Cameron said they need a EU treaty change to make the British people say “yes” in the EU referendum. Cameron wanted a few changes on the conditions of migrant workers, like demanding a “four-year qualification period” for them to receive any benefit.

The EU members like Germany thought that the UK’s four-year- decision for the migrant workers would be discrimination according to European laws. Members from Eastern Europe also did not want a treaty change, because it can discriminate their citizens who want to work in Britain.


TRTWorld and agencies