By Dr Kamil Zwolski, Politics & International Relations
Recently I was asked by the Wave 105 radio to comment on David Cameron’s plans to hold a yes/no referendum on UK’s EU membership, if Tories win the next general election. That referendum would take place no later than 2017. In principle, there is nothing wrong with the idea of a referendum provided that people are able and willing to make an informed decision. But where is it that Brits are learning about the EU and the consequences of leaving it? Even if Cameron himself promises to campaign for Britain to stay in the EU, are people going to listen to him? Is Cameron going to speak for himself or for the whole Tory party? Isn’t it the case that most people learn about the EU from euro-hostile, unreliable tabloid media? British membership in the EU is a complex or even complicated matter with implications going far beyond economic matters, on which the debates in the UK mostly focus on. For example, the UK is playing an active, even if often sceptical role in the EU’s Common Security and Defence Policy. It can play an even bigger role. It also cooperates closely with other EU states on counter-terrorism and other internal security matters through the EU’s Area of Freedom, Security and Justice. What are the implications for the position of the UK vis-à-vis the United States? Recently Washington voiced its concerns about Britain’s influence in Washington if it leaves the EU. These are some important questions that hopefully will be raised by those in favour of the referendum.