Response to government leaflet, part 1: ‘we will not join the euro’

The government has announced that it is sending out to 27 million homes a 16-page leaflet, making its case for Britain to remain in the EU. I am quite surprised by how outrageously biased it is. And also by how poorly written and argued. I was shocked by the following statement on the first page of the leaflet (page 2 of the pdf):

The UK has secured a special status in a reformed EU:

  • we will not join the euro

Three preliminary points:

a) what is this ‘reformed EU’? I personally hadn’t noticed anything that could be described in this way. All we have had is a succession of steps towards closer integration, and a few opt-outs here and there. Or so it seems to me..

b) what is this ‘special status’? Does it exist? We have four opt-outs and a rebate, but I am not sure this is particularly ‘special’.

c) The UK’s opt-out from the euro was secured by John Major in 1992. It seems to me that ‘The UK has secured’ makes it sound like something that has been achieved recently, as if it was something that this government could take credit for.

My main point:

There is nothing in the UK’s treaty relationship with the UK to prevent us joining the euro in the future. It is currently government policy not to join the euro, and Cameron stated in February that:

Britain will never join the euro

but, so far as I can see, this is simply a statement of opinion not of fact. There is nothing whatever to prevent a future government taking us in to the eurozone. In fact, if we were to remain in the EU, I expect that the argument would be made by some that we would have more influence in the central core rather than in the periphery.

So it seems to me that it is not true to say that one aspect of our status with regard to the EU is that:

we will not join the euro

The real situation could more accurately have been expressed as:

we may join the euro if we want to, but we don’t have to

Andrew

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