The Bruges Group spearheaded the intellectual battle to win a vote to leave the European Union and, above all, against the emergence of a centralised EU state.

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Forever Closer Union?

Luke Stanley


Britain has neither the influence nor the allies to prevent the passage of legislation increasing further the level of European integration. The notion that Britain can form a blocking minority against Commission proposals it does not approve of, either within the European Parliament or the Council of Ministers is ultimately unrealistic.

If the idea that Britain could form a blocking minority is unrealistic, then the idea that Britain could renegotiate its terms in order to repatriate powers to Westminster is farcical. If Britain is unable to garner enough support from member states to block integrationist legislation, it will be unable to convince all of the member states to agree to treaty changes which reverse the principle of ever closer union.

The influence that Britain can exert in the European legislation process is wholly negligible, as it can neither introduce its own legislation nor block Commission proposals in the majority of policy areas. As such, Britain has little influence within Europe to lose by either pursuing a looser relationship with Europe, such as Norway or Switzerland, or withdrawing altogether. Ever closer union has been the key doctrine underpinning the European project since its inception and consequently continued integration will remain the direction of the European Union. As such, the United Kingdom must decide whether it wants to be one of the states sliding inexorably towards forever closer union or to become independent.

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