Obama: UK must stay in EU to maintain its influence in world

US President Obama urges UK to remain part of Europe in his BBC interview, saying that Britain must stay in EU in order to continue its global influence which renders Transatlantic union strengthful in post-war period

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Updated Jul 28, 2015

Speaking during a BBC interview on Thursday, US President Barack Obama said the UK must remain in the European Union for the sake of its global influence which is needed for a strong Transatlantic union in world affairs.

Britain's membership in the EU "gives us much greater confidence about the strength of the transatlantic union," Obama told BBC’s North America editor Jon Sopel.

During his election campaign, British Prime Minister David Cameron had promised that the British people would vote in a “simple referendum of in or out” of the EU which is scheduled for 2017.

But the UK’s planned in-out EU referendum, dubbed “Brexit,” previously set for May 5, 2016 had been postponed as the date clashed with the local elections in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland along with the London mayoral election.

However, Obama dismissed such a proposed “Brexit” via a plebiscite in 2017, and called the British government to commit to the conditions of the EU which he perceives that, had "made the world safer and more prosperous" in the post-war era.

Obama designated the UK as the most important strategic partner of the US because of London’s willingness to project power beyond its "immediate self-interests to make this a more orderly, safer world."

Obama also appreciated Cameron as an "outstanding partner" and congratulated his Conservative Party government over its decision to spend 2 percent of GDP into the defence sector which is the minimum criteria to be met by the NATO member states.  

The Conservative Party won the general elections in May that enabled Cameron to reassure his power on the bicameral British parliament, where discontent with the EU policies had a trend to increase in the wake of migrant crisis in the continental Europe.

Cameron wants some changes in the EU treaty, including the banning of EU migrants from in-work benefits for four years, the ability of national parliaments to block EU legislation, Britain’s exclusion from the EU’s historic commitment to for an “ever closer union,” as well as guarantee for non-eurozone members to not be outvoted by eurozone members.

The European Commission has recently proposed an action plan on asylum and immigration that ensures the burden of 40,000 migrants and refugees intake among the EU member states.

The proposed document settles migrant quotas in accordance with the EU countries’ GDP level, population and number of migrants already living in those countries.  

So far almost 10 countries in the EU bloc including the UK, Hungary, Spain as well as France raised their objections to the action plan presented by the Commission.

The EU failed to reach a sound agreement last week regarding the solution to the influx of migrants coming from the war-torn countries like Syria, Iraq. Somalia, Eritrea and Libya.

This year over 1,900 migrants and refugees have drowned when they were traversing Mediterranean for heading into the continental Europe whereas thousands of others have succeeded to reach at European soils, particularly in Italy.

The UK and Italy have recently acknowledged the necessity to find a better approach to the migrant crisis among EU members, as Cameron promised to help on the crisis to Italy’s Prime Minister Matteo Renzi last month in Milan, which had also caused a deepening rift between EU member states and Italy.


TRTWorld and agencies