Renegotiating Terms of EU Membership Prior to the Referendum
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To improve the chances of winning the referendum, David Cameron sought to renegotiate the UK’s terms of EU membership. This gambit mimicked the successful strategy of Harold Wilson in the 1975 EEC referendum. Yet the politicization of intra-EU migration meant the onus was on obtaining concessions in this policy area. Traditional Euroscepticism impugning the sovereignty-constraining effects of EU competences tapped into a groundswell of anti-immigration sentiment determined to see the end of the free movement of people principle. A British vote to remain in the EU was premised on the ability of the Conservative government to head off this alliance. But the renegotiation outcome did nothing to make this possible because it was impossible to dilute the EU commitment to free movement of people.
KeywordsRenegotiation David Cameron EU integration EU reform Red card Migration
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