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UK's referendum negotiation process begins in earnest at EU summit

29 June 2015

UK Referendum on EU Membership

UK Prime Minister presents EU reform proposals 

Before the end of 2017 the UK will hold a referendum on whether to remain a member of the European Union, ahead of which David Cameron has committed to renegotiating the terms of membership. In recent weeks Mr Cameron has toured European capitals to win allies among his fellow leaders.

The culmination of this process came at last week's European Council summit, where he began the negotiation process in earnest, laying out a list of desired EU reforms in a short presentation.

Relegated to something of a sideshow by the more pressing issues of the Greek economy and migration, one diplomat reportedly described the British PM's contribution as a "commercial break". But this may not be as bad as it sounds. Mr Cameron has intentionally adopted a low-key approach with his counterparts, and said that he was "delighted" with the outcome of the meeting.

The negotiation will be a long process, with the next top-level debate not scheduled until December. But certain leitmotifs are already evident in Mr Cameron's rhetoric, the most obvious being his criticism of the concept of 'ever-closer union', mentioned in the EU treaties.

This may prove a politically astute choice, as while the phrase is anathema to British eurosceptics, it has little practical meaning in the modern EU. With more concrete aims apparently dropped, the straw man of ever-closer union should be one over which Mr Cameron can claim victory.

Find out more about the UK's EU Referendum

DeHavilland's UK and EU teams are collaborating on a comprehensive briefings series, analysing every aspect of the UK’s referendum on EU membership. To register your interest in receiving our referendum briefings, please contact us.

For an introduction to the people, politics and processes leading up to this critical event, download DeHavilland EU’s free report, The UK’s Referendum on EU Membership

Alex Boxell, Senior EU Policy Analyst
Alex Boxell
Senior EU Policy Analyst

Alex Boxell is Senior Policy Analyst on the DeHavilland EU team. He first joined the company in 2012, initially in an editorial role before taking over the financial services portfolio. Before this he studied at Oxford and Leiden, where he received a master’s degree in EU Studies.