Former Prime Minister Tony Blair of Britain is “deeply worried” over the possibility that his country could say farewell to the European Union. The possible cause for such an action? Handing over too much power to Brussels without maintaining “democratic legitimacy.”
Reuters reported that Blair expressed his concerns over the future of a Britain going it alone in an interview with German daily Die Zeit, in which he said the transfer of too much sovereignty could lead to a referendum rejecting the country’s membership in the bloc.
Some politicians are already calling for an exit, with current Prime Minister David Cameron saying in July that it was “perfectly reasonable” to hold an immediate referendum on whether the country should stay or go. Cameron did say, however, that he would not campaign for an exit because departing the EU would not be in the best interests of the country.
Blair was quoted saying that the eurozone crisis would be responsible for a “powerful political change of the EU. And on this point, I am deeply worried that Britain could decide by referendum to leave the whole process.”
He added, “If more competences are transferred to the EU, then its democratic legitimacy must be built up too. Britain must play a strong role in this. Because we need a balance between European institutions and the nation-states.”
While supporters of membership in the EU say that Britain’s economy would still be shaped by rules made in Brussels even if the country chose to leave, and that it would also lose influence by doing so, others are ready to chuck the whole thing.
Those in favor of heading for the exits say that regulations imposed by the EU are strangling Britain’s $2.5 trillion economy, and that if the country left London would not only save billions of dollars by not having to pay membership costs but also would have its sovereignty back.
Britain has previously resisted surrendering too much control to Brussels over fears that such a move would impair business in the City of London. But the current spate of financial scandals emanating from London’s financial institutions are making some question the wisdom of the “business-friendly” lesser level of controls imposed on its banks.
Cameron, who in December vetoed a new EU fiscal treaty, has said that it is possible Britain will hold a referendum on EU membership in the future. He has also said Britain would forge a new relationship with the bloc.
Blair said in the report, “If this is done wrongly, we could create a political crisis that could become just as a big as the euro crisis. People will not go along with the abolishment of the nation-state.”