A report by the Japan-based bank Nomura has warned that Britain seems to be moving towards a referendum on the EU, and that proponents of the referendum are finding their movement gathering momentum. “The eurozone crisis has fuelled eurosceptic sentiment in the UK. […] Consequent developments in Europe could result in further pressure on the British government to commit firmly to a referendum on EU membership,” says the report.
The idea of a referendum has been thrown around for decades, but now it seems one may actually occur. Prime Minister David Cameron has previously pushed the idea of a referendum into the long grass, claiming it was not in the best interests of the economy to throw Britain’s membership in the EU into question.
Now there are claims that it may be better for the British economy to push itself further from Europe. Vicky Redwood, the chief UK economist at Capital Economics, a financial consultancy firm, said that “concerns about the economic disruption if the UK were to leave are overdone. In fact, the economy could end up better off,” and echoed the sentiments in the report that “a referendum on the UK’s membership of the EU seems to be becoming a more realistic prospect.”
However, surveys reveal that there is little appetite in the UK to entirely leave the EU, though many people do feel that less power should be transferred to Brussels. Of course, if the eurozone crisis improves, the calls for a referendum or full withdrawal from the EU will likely die down.
It seems the key factor in any British referendum will be how the countries that have adopted the euro deal with the current turmoil. Although it’s unlikely anything will be decided in the immediate future, as the spectre of a referendum is raised once again the Prime Minister may not find it so easy to brush off this time.