Think tank: Safeguard rights of non-Euro states

Lauren Fedor
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Cameron is seeking support in Europe for his reforms
PROTECTING the interests of non-Eurozone countries should be a key part of Prime Minister David Cameron’s re­negotiation efforts with Brussels, a leading think tank has argued.

In a new report out today, Open Europe recommends reforms to protect non-Eurozone countries from being outvoted by countries using the single currency.

Open Europe’s co-director Stephen Booth said: “The biggest strategic challenge in the EU negotiations is to reach a durable settlement which allows those countries inside the Eurozone that wish to integrate further politically and economically to do so without disadvantaging those outside that want to continue to benefit from the single market.

“This means redefining membership of the EU as membership of the single market and putting in place voting procedures that safeguard the national interests of non-euro countries,” he added.

Cameron has not set out details of what reforms he is seeking ahead of an in/out referendum on Britain’s EU membership, but City A.M. understands that the proposals put forward by Open Europe are being seriously considered by government officials.

Among its proposals, Open Europe suggests that joining the single currency should no longer be compulsory – in other words, new member states should be able to opt-in to joining the euro, rather than be forced.

The think tank also wants to introduce new voting rights for non-euro states, and proposes that countries not in the Eurozone should have a so-called “right of appeal” over any decisions made by Eurozone countries.

Pointing to the example of a recent Eurozone vote on a bridge loan to Greece, Booth said: “The risk of Eurozone caucusing is no longer simply hypothetical but real. It has also helped cement political support in a number of other member states for safeguards for non-Eurozone states. Reaching agreement for such a mechanism is tricky but not impossible.”