2002 September 24 Tuesday
James Bennett: UK could secede from EU over pensions

In response to a constitutional proposal to disallow withdrawal from the EU James C. Bennett examines an issue that might cause an EU constitutional crisis:

Faced with the choice of economically disastrous fiscal implosion or electorally disastrous radical cutbacks in expected retirement benefits (the most over-obligated countries having almost no private retirement plans), the European Union proposes to, in effect, raid the piggy bank of the substantial British private pension system, by proposing a "harmonized" pan-European pension system, redistributing British private pension funds (and/or inflating the euro) to save Continental pensioners. Under a federal European constitution, this could be forced down the throat of Britain.

It is safe to assume that any British government will either confront the European Union at this point, or be replaced by one that would. But confrontation in a majority-voting environment is useless. The only effective threat is to secede. Given that a substantial number of British voters already would like to quit the Union, and presuming they still feel the same way in 2015, it would be likely that a move to secession in such circumstances would be backed by the electorate. It is also likely that Britain would not gain the required unanimity of permissions from other European states.

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2002 September 24 02:55 PM  Europe and America


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