Paris, May 15, 2013 – It is not simply the Eurozone, composed of the 17 European states that have the euro as currency, that is threatened by the dramatic economic discrepancies that now exist among its individual members, as well as the large gap that exists between the indebtedness of the southern members of the zone and the German-led bloc of northern countries. Now it is the European Union itself that is in danger, mainly but not entirely because of the economic crisis inherited from Wall Street abuses. The EU has contributed to its own misfortunes.
A new Europe-wide report by correspondents of the Paris newspaper Le Figaro reveals mounting disillusionment with the European Union itself among the voters of its member states. These are confirmed by the results of an American Pew organization study issued May 14.
Britain has made the most news about possible withdrawal from the union since the country’s most recent local elections gave the United Kingdom Independence Party nearly as high a popular vote as the ruling Conservative Party, led by Prime Minister David Cameron. The Ukip won an unprecedented 23% of the total vote. There was an immediate rise in demand among Conservative Party members for a referendum on quitting the EU – which the Ukip promises.
Conservative support for the prime minister on the EU issue is crumbling at the edges. David Cameron has also promised a referendum -- but wants first to renegotiate the terms of British EU membership (a non-British observer would add “if he can”).
Renegotiating with Britain has few fans among the leaders of the other EU states, nor in the Brussels Commission. But having Britain quit the EU is a scary prospect, since while London has been a nuisance ever since the late Margaret Thatcher’s demands that Britain “get back” the investment the British have made in the Union, it nonetheless is one of the four major European powers and economies, and with France is one of only two European states that are (relatively) heavyweight military and diplomatic powers. Without Britain the EU would be seriously weakened.