The prospect of the UK leaving the EU is becoming a distinct possibility. Recent polls indicate that more than half of British voters are in favour of a Brexit. David Cameron says he will hold an in/out referendum in 2017 if the Conservatives are returned to government. He has stated he wants to keep the UK in the EU, but on a recalibrated basis, and he has been robustly talking up the need to renegotiate the terms of the UK’s EU membership. But this is a risky strategy. He is in danger of being hemmed in from all sides domestically, from within his party and without, and his room for negotiation in the EU is an open question; while some big EU states say there is manoeuvrability within current treaties, red lines have also been drawn, such as Merkel’s statement over treaty fundamentals like freedom of movement.
In our snapshot Fog over the Channel – Britain cut off? FTI Consulting’s Alex Holroyd in London and Johnny Pring in Brussels take a closer look at political sentiment in the UK and EU on Britain’s future role in Europe, and assess whether Cameron’s strategy could work or badly backfire.