The new Government has confirmed that it will seek to renegotiate the UK’s relationship with the EU and then hold a referendum on its membership by the end of 2017. It is not clear as yet the terms of the renegotiation, but in his “Bloomberg speech”, David Cameron set out 5 principles:
- Competitiveness through less bureaucracy and regulation, including services, digital and energy in the Single market;
- Flexibility by allowing countries to opt-out of EU rules, EU more like a network rather than a bloc with different levels of integration;
- Return of powers to member states,
- Democratic accountability with a greater role for national parliaments,
- Fairness in the single market, for MS inside and outside the Eurozone.
The NFU has approved its position ahead of the Government’s renegotiation. We do not take a “better in / better out” position, however we do identify a number of principles and suggestions that we believe, if addressed by the Government in its talks with the European Commission, will make the operating environment for UK farmers better. For example the way in which the EU approaches biotechnology and plant protection products, as well as ensuring robust impacts assessments are in place ahead of proposals coming to the table.