The USA is anxious. Anxious about the UK’s flirting with withdrawal from the EU. The USA believes that the EU is stronger with the UK in it – something which the UK is very aware of – and with the UK being America’s key ally in the EU, the USA is worried that the UK leaving the EU would hamper its relationships with the economically ailing continent. Via Britain the USA believes itself to have greater influence in the EU and with the recovery of the eurozone important for the USA’s own recovery; this influence is thought to be viewed as being very important for the US. An EU without the UK would be viewed as weaker on free trade and less reliable on defence and foreign policy issues.
“It is important to state very clearly that a strong UK in a strong Europe is in America’s national interest,” a senior US administrative official is quoted as saying in The Daily Telegraph. “We recognise national states but see the EU as a force multiplier.”
The US certainly doesn’t share the view of some Euro-sceptics that the Special Relationship would be enhanced by a British exit. The US in fact believes have greater international presence as part of the EU. Britain’s free trade philosophy as vital in preventing the EU from become protectionist and the UK’s greater assertiveness on foreign policy issues is more in line with American thinking than most European countries.
The eurozone is still in danger of collapse and the British government has been seen as edging towards holding a referendum on EU membership – many onlookers believe such a referendum would fuel further euro-scepticism throughout the nation. David Cameron has said that he a Britain without the EU is “imaginable” causing agitation from the US – Barack Obama has apparently urged Britain not to make imagination reality in a video-conference on Tuesday.
“We understand that a Europe without the UK would be a weaker Europe,” said a Whitehall source. ”We are getting more and more questions about this, particularly from the US and China. People want to know what it would mean. But at the moment we are focused on making Europe work better for us. We are on focusing on free trade, the single market and commerce. We are committed to making the EU more competitive.”
Anti-Europe party Ukip, has been gaining increasingly strong support in the UK and has even overtaken the Lib Dems to poll between 7 and 14%. The coalition is already said to be considering opting out of numerous common judicial and policing measures contained in the Lisbon treaty. Ukip, though, are strong believers that UK’s leaving the EU would in fact strengthen the ‘special relationship’.
“There have been times in history when the US has been very pleased that Britain has remained independent of the continent, and we expect that to continue” said William Dartmouth MEP and foreign affairs spokesman for the UKIP. “It is not the job of the UK to make the work of US diplomats easier. It is our job to secure our own interests.”