EU-UK relationship: Where do things stand?

EU-UK relationship: Where do things stand?

Winston Churchill once proposed for Europe "a structure under which it can dwell in peace, in safety and in freedom... a kind of United States of Europe".

By the end of 2017, a referendum question may change history. Britons are facing another inquiry, "Should the United Kingdom remain a member of the European Union or leave the European Union?"

The Conservatives believe that Britain is being held back by the EU, which they say imposes too many rules on business and charges billions of pounds a year in membership fees for little in return.

They also want to exempt Britain from "ever-closer union" and restrict EU migrants' access to in-work benefits such as tax credits. The Conservatives' promised in their election manifesto to hold a referendum on whether or not the UK should stay in or leave the European Union.

Liberal democrats and the Labor party were against a referendum unless there were plans to transfer more powers from the UK to the EU. But then they dropped their opposition, so the Conservatives are expected to get their Referendum Bill passed easily.

Liberal Democrats believe EU membership makes selling things to other EU countries easier and the flow of young immigrants fuels economic growth and helps pay for public services.

Britain had a referendum in 1975 shortly after it had joined the EU. The country voted to stay in then but there have been growing calls for another vote because, they argue, the EU has changed a lot over the past 40 years, with many more countries joining and the organization extending its control over more aspects of daily lives.

Cover credit: Thetimes.co.uk

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