David Cameron will make a landmark speech in the next two weeks, outlining his strategy on Europe. But he is already being warned about the content of what he says. In Washington they are so concerned about the direction of the UK’s future plans the Assistant Secretary for European and Eurasian affairs has publicly warned that Britain risks damaging its relationship with America and being side-lined in the international community if it leaves the EU.
“We value a strong UK voice in a strong European Union,” the US State Department’s Philip H Gordon, said starkly during a visit to London to meet ministers yesterday.
He added: “We have a growing relationship with the EU as an institution, which has an increasing voice in the world, and we want to see a strong British voice in that EU. That is in America’s interests. We welcome an outward-looking EU with Britain in it.”
He said any kind of a British exit from the EU would not enhance the “special relationship” in any way and Gordon warned that America would continue to forge stronger links with member countries of the EU which it sees as having “a growing voice in the world and a critical partner on global issues.
In addition, the German Ambassador to London, George Boomgaarden told the Guardian’s Jonathan Freedland: “This is really a choice between out and out…if you pick and choose you blow up the single market.”
Boomgaarden’s intervention followed Gunther Krichbaum, the Chair of the Bundestag’s European Affairs Committee, who said Britain must not blackmail its EU partners.
Last week I was invited to Europe House organised by the group, Business for New Europe, where I sat on a panel hosted by ITV’s Business Editor, Laura Kuenssberg and debated the future of Europe with Lord Wallace, Andrea Leadsom MP and the leader of the Conservative Party in Europe Richard Ashworth MEP.
I said that such Eurosceptic opinions give the wrong impression and are dangerous.
To my surprise the leader of the UK Conservative MEPs agreed and said “stridently Eurosceptic opinions give the wrong impression that Britain is one against the rest in the EU.
“We’re making ourselves look pretty darned unattractive,” he added.
You can read the BBCs full coverage on the event here.