The latest in Britain’s drift away from the European Union is the UK Foreign Secretary’s announcement this week that each and every Whitehall department will be publicly “auditing” how EU regulations affect—and to some Britons, hamper—their work. The Telegraph reports:
The public audit could eventually produce a “shopping list” of powers that Britain would seek to repatriate [from Brussels] in exchange for agreeing to moves to create a more integrated eurozone.
Today’s announcement is the latest move from Conservative ministers to sound a more sceptical tone on Europe and seek a looser relationship with the EU in the wake of the eurozone crisis.
Convulsed by the crisis in the eurozone, the EU appears to be thrashing towards a tighter political and fiscal union. There is no place for the UK in this, and the consensus among mainstream British politicians has shifted toward looking for ways to distance Britain from the EU rather than trying to transform it or to integrate more deeply with it.
A lot of this is about the euro. The pro-EU lobby in Britain worked hard to get the country to drop the pound for the euro. That of course would have been a terrible disaster; the result has discredited many of the most pro-EU voices in the UK and tilted the balance of respectable opinion in a Euroskeptic direction.
Nobody knows what the new post-crisis EU will look like, so it is impossible to predict what kind of relationship the UK will have with it, but the English Channel separating Britain from the rest of the EU seems to be getting both deeper and wider these days.