tv Inside Story Al Jazeera March 10, 2016 6:30pm-7:01pm EST
plans for the future of europe took on the notion of a closer union. it all came to a head in this last british election when the u.k. ran on a promise to leave britain out of e.u. and david cameron promised a national referendum on national membership, promised renegotiation on membership and campaign in remaining in the e.u. >> the commitment in treaty that should not apply to britain. we have a different for europe. we believe in a flexible union
of free member states who share treaties and institutions to share our prosperity and protect our people from threats from our security right now a furious national argument is shaping up about costs and benefits, hook up all the tug boats you want. the british isles will only be a few dozen miles from france and a few thousand miles away from the u.s. a tension point around e.u. membership is practical, immigration markets, international standards, currencies and deep notions of what the u.k. is and what it will be. >> should remain in europe but not as it is at the moment. all our powers have been taken away. it's no good for the country.
stay in europe because we need europe to trade with each other, but on a different level. >> no. we must get out now. we must get out before the country is ruined altogether. it's two-thirds there now. we might just pull it back without coming out. no hope the u.k. and europe heading for a brshgs -- brexit. my guests are here. professor this is an old problem why is it coming to a head now? >> it is a very old problem. i think it started with margaret thatcher's sense of betrayal of which she felt was a single europe market that gradually become a political union.
when it was signed in 1992 that is really the birth of the u.k. independence party that thought this was going too far, giving up too much sovereignty. they have more leaders in the conservative party that didn't make it into parliament. when cameron got the leadership he promised that the party should stop banging on about europe, but he felt with the independence party breathing down his neck that he needed to do something to appease his sceptic wing. that's where he promised a referendum in 2015 which nobody believed would ever happen. it was a kind of horror that they won the election and they had to fulfil.
so now he we are this consistent belief that britain is getting a raw deal, has it been exaggerated or did they have a case. >> i'm of two minds. i think the clear case for leaving is very hard to make because to me britain already has a very good deal with europe. the two most contentious parts of the e.u., the euro, they haven't hopped out of and schengen they haven't opted out of. these are the two things that matters the most that they control and they have. the bic gamble they're making is we want a divorce and you get to make the terms of that divorce which is a big gamble in the end they're using their leverage to drive a better deal for themselves. what does the rest of europe make of that? >> as you can imagine, there are some countries in europe that
would like to do the same and in the context of this, they've tried and we see that britain, i think, on the whole is driving itself into a position where we just don't know what the outcome of this will be because ultimately if britain did leave the e.u., there is the question of how does it renegotiate these treaties and agreements with the e.u. that is the point being made, which is we have got a raw deal and we need to leave the union now because we can sign bilateral agreements, for example, trade agreements, with the u.s., with others on our terms and not be held back by the e.u. other countries are thinking in this way, especially if the u.k.
ends up leaving the e.u. there is going to be an emboldening of euro sceptics throughout. we heard the prime minister of the czech republic suggesting that one could also be held there. he walked that back. i think there's an outstanding. this would be precedence. there's no doubt about it. if britain can do it so can others the interesting thing about the czech republic saying we want to make our own deal is that the whole idea of this debate has been that the rich countries are paying in and the poorer countries, the more recent members, have been net taking out of benefit. it's interesting to hear a former warsaw pack nation, a former east block nation, that would be presumed to have been a tremendous beneficiary in being in the yup saying we want to cut
our own deal too. it undercuts britain's argument. >> it does. it's fascinating. i think the commonality here is that the e.u. has lost credibility, not only in the eyes of the british public but in the eyes of so many public throughout the european union. it's inability to solve crisis, from refugee to terrorism, ukraine, russia, the democratic definite silt which we don't talk but it is still there. it is an inability to solve these over the last few years has caused them to lose credibility throughout the union are they underplaying how costly it could be to get out, how knit into the union britain
already is >> i think that's the weak part of the case for leaving. it is mainly emotional grounds, somewhat justified. there is a sovereignty issue. there is plenty of laws that are imposed from the e.u. that britain can be outvoted that they have to adopt. these were things that they would have control their own on. it's just a little bit - britain is a very different - their democracy works differently. there is government in opposition in opposite sides. it is "yes" or "no." europe is maddening in that way, that it is consensus seeking and you end up with muddled compromises that are not helpful, but the financial fallout, the idea that britain could renegotiate treaties and get a better deal. we still have to see this.
the e.u. after 40 years membership. we will be talking american interests concerning a long time ally. my guest are still here. during recent but not just in the last couple of months trip to britain the country was a flooder over having to change the portions in the way it was selling meat. they had interviews with butcherers from all over the country who had sold the sunday roast and pork cops and lamb chops a certain way forever and now with brussels ramming these new standards down their throat would have to sell in hectograms and so on instead of pounds. it was fascinating because there was real upset about in as if buying 400 grams of lamb was going to be remarkably different from being six ounces, but there we were anyway. it was just another moment to
rag on the e.u. and say they're forcing us to not be ourselves any more. along with the real things that matter about trade and money and london as a center of international finance and so on. are there a lot of these things that you still have to pay attention to even though they're small >> they certainly are. i think that those so-called small things are illustrative of some of the larger problems. they feedback into what the real problems are. they remind people of the real problems. there are collections of - again, how much is the u.k. really getting out of its relationship with the european union, do the costs outweigh the benefits. it so seems like a large portion of the u.k. public believe that to be the case, but it's going back to your previous question, it is extremely difficult to weigh the costs and benefits of
the u.k.'s membership. there is sentiment that there is over regulation and the u.k. is being held back. it's inability to negotiate trade agreements, et cetera, that the u.k. could do as better on a bilateral basis. the problem is that, for example, there was a costs and analysis and the trade would be 55% lower with europe, 55% lower had it not joined the e.u. or predecessor in 1973. so it is very difficult to quantify and analyse what the costs and benefits are, but as you said, there are these small things, these issues that crop up that remind people of what they see as brussels overreach some of this, professor, getting over not being a big important country any more, one
of the tough fights over european integration had to do with britain severing some of its traditional agricultural ties with other countries outside of the european union and you had to conform with e.u. rules. another reminder we're not an empire any more >> yes. on the other hand they're not an agricultural nation any more. they're still close to 40% of the budget going to agriculture. very little goes to britain. that is where they are a net contributor to the budget. i still find the idea that britain is held back by brussels' regulations. there are countries like
netherlands, sweden and others who have not been held back. i think it is exaggerated. britain has a good deal with europe as it is. they're out of the difficult parts of the e.u. i think cameron's negotiation didn't give them that much extra because they already have as many opt-outs as they do. i think the idea of empire, the english-speaking nations, it is said they have lost the empire and yet to find a role, i think that is still there. there is a whole labor socialist sceptic side that opposes the e.u. for exactly the opposite reasons as the conservatives do. it feels that we used to matter, we're a member of the security council, we have a veto there and we're still a big player.
it they were to leave it would be a big blow to e.u. because they're together with france the only serious military players of the european union is part of that problem that when you make a venn diagram the over lap for the zone is inexact. people are in all three, some are in two out of the three. you can't talk about security when you're at an e.u. meeting the way you can if you're at a nato meeting >> they've been trying to do this. the difference now is that the americans are broadly supportive of europe doing more. before it was seen as a rival power, this was the days of old and new europe. i think that's gone. i think the u.s. state department, the u.s. defense department they're dying for europe to step up its defensive capabilities and to take more defense in its own regions we will about pick that up
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welcome back to inside story. i'm ray suarez. we're talking about the debate inside britain over whether to stay in the e.u. or make a so-called brexit. when you look at the future of the e.u. from the u.s. state department, tensions and tears over the euro, over syrian refugees, over east ward expansion. is the u.s. neutral, indifferent to their desire to leave or hoping the cameron government decides to remain. what do you think? >> i think that the obama administration is very hopeful that the u.k. will remain a member of the e.u. and has actually weighed in overtly. they say that they would not be
able to negotiate or renegotiate trade agreement with the u.s. in an exit. these are the proponents saying, they could he negotiate with the u.s. rather than rely on the european and the european commission to negotiate. here we have an obama administration official saying that's not going to happen. there is a new administration that will be in the white house soon, but looking at the key players here in our political race domestically, bernie sanders is very very much against trade, donald trump is very much against trade, ted cruz has come out against tpp. hillary clinton was once for tpp. she is now against it. there is speculation that she might moderate her position if she wins the white house. we don't know. there's uncertainty on trade for
example. i would say the obama administration has weighed in and they've put relatively overt pressure on the u.k. and i would say on the population, the voting population there to vote to stay in. as far as the u.s. political dal leads generally are concerned, i say with some caveats there's some overwhelming support for the u.k. to stay in the e.u. that there's an interest for the u.k. to say part of europe. this is based on the fact that the u.k. is more aligned with u.s. policy and u.s. were thinking about policy more so than any other country in europe. you can see that in terms of the free market orientations, free market economic philosophy and foreign defense policy sometimes in foreign policy sish kels in washing-- circles in washington the british are
discussed as if they're america's proxy seed in belgium. it's almost insulting - i'm not defending the honor of the british, but almost insulting to the british that they are our guys in brussels. is that part of this? >> there is - i think that there is that potential pit fall in the way that americans talk about this relationship that it makes things quite difficult for the u.k. in europe, but the fact of the matter is that the u.k. is a conduit of u.s. policy in a sense, in terms of affecting europe's policy and the e.u.'s policies >> i think this maybe was true 10 or 15 years ago, but i think kissinger he said give me a number to call europe. i think there is an answer now. germany and berlin.
so there is this sense that - i agree, they are much closer ideologically, the british, but i don't know how helpful per se this american push for britain to remain has been from the elites. many people don't like to be told what to do is the the e.u. weaker, if britain cuts a separate deal and stays in, is it inevitably weaker because all of this happened? >> i think it is. i think it already was weak and that is the irony of britain worrying about ever closer union. nobody, especially not my colleagues about that. we're writing ever further union or ever looser union. i think cyprus in renegotiations said what are you worrying about? we're falling apart. it is a nice ideal.
i think it is set in motion this sense that the moment you astart renegotiate withing a club that know matter where the outcome is, and it will probably be closer than many believes of e.u. is, it will be coming towards renegotiating things, waiting longer to join, which they've promised to do. i think it has started something that we - you feel that brussels no longer controls as well as it has we have about a minute left. a weeker e.u. at the end of this process? >> yes, and from a u.s. perspective, a europe that is less able to partner with the united states. europe was and to some extent is partner of first resort. without a u.k. that is guiding the european union in a positive direction together with angela
merkel, an e.u. dealing with multiple particular exit $after a brexit is not going to be a good partner for the u.s. is this going to take on defense as well as parade? are there real security repercussions? >> we're talking about very integrated defense industries and, of course, again the u.k. will have to renegotiate its relationship with the e.u. if it decides to exit. right now switzerland has over 120 bilateral agreements with the european union. the u.k. will have no negotiate at least that many i want to thank you, my guests. that's the inside story. join us for a look at how japan has recovered five years after the earthquake tsunami and the
destruction of the power plant in fukushima. i'm ray suarez. that's the inside story. goodnight. >> this is aljazeera america, live from new york city. i'm richelle carey, and tony harris has the night off. live from the white house, prime minister justin trudeau. trump rally. standing his ground, the chairman says no hearings for a supreme court nominee. and finding the next albert einstein in an unlikely