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UK, EU must realise mutuality in ties

The UK has never been so divided as it is now over a controversial deal struck by British Prime Minister David Cameron with the European Union regarding the UK’s future relationship with the EU. Cameron thinks the agreement has given the UK a “special status”.
The UK is almost evenly split over Brexit. The latest opinion poll, by TNS, found 39 percent of respondents supporting leaving the bloc with 36 percent backing staying in, and 25 percent undecided. Other online polls have shown the results too close to call.
Upon the news of the pact the pound rose, gaining by as much as 0.3 percent to $1.4382 at 09:45pm in London. That’s up from a decline of as much as 0.6 percent earlier in the day.
Cameron who had bargained very hard for concessions, said he would “campaign with his heart and soul to stay in the union”. Having the deal in his hand, he said he would be campaigning to remain in a reformed EU when the referendum on the UK’s membership is held on June 23, describing the vote as one of the biggest decisions “in our lifetimes”.
To Cameron the deal would put the UK “in the driving seat” of one of the world’s biggest markets and create a “more flexible” EU. It will also protect the sterling as the EU has explicitly acknowledged more than one currency.
The deal also shields Britain from further political integration inside the EU. It addresses the worst fears of the UK, which will no longer be bound to ever closer union with other EU member states. The agreement gives the UK power to limit some EU migrants’ benefits, a major demand of Cameron.
Upbeat about the deal, Cameron said, “The British people must now decide whether to stay in this reformed European Union or to leave. This will be a once-in-a-generation moment to shape the destiny of our country.”
But the reaction of the EU exit campaigners who described the deal as “hollow” and offered only “very minor changes”, indicates the road to the full EU membership would not be furnished with roses. Worse still, eurosceptics have dismissed the reforms, saying they will not allow the UK to block unwanted EU laws or reduce migration.
No doubt, the UK exit from the EU will impact negatively on the international standing of the UK, as it will not enjoy support in Brussels, thus curbing its role as a major player, and making it a less dependable ally to Europe and the US as well.
Indeed, the Brexit would also leave a weaker Europe, which needs the UK’s expertise in financing and banking, as well as trade. Both parties need each other badly.
There is another element not calculated by Brexit backers. Leaving the EU would also put the question of Scotland’s independence squarely back on the agenda. Many in Scotland would argue for independence in order to remain an EU member, and hence, making the cause stronger more than ever before.
London, Europe’s most important financial centre, is hostile to a Brexit and its big hitters have already planned for various post-EU scenarios. But according to a study by the think-tank Open Europe, Britain’s GDP would be 2.2 points lower in 2030 if Britain leaves the EU, in its worst-case scenario, with a loss of 0.8 percent deemed most likely.
In what could be seen as a boost to seeking to stay in the EU, both US President Barack Obama and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping have publicly called for Britain to stay in the EU.
Despite leading a divided Cabinet and party, Cameron would likely make a strong case to keep the UK in the EU. The referendum on June 23 is sure to become a watershed moment for entire Europe. If UK takes the exit door, it will bear the economic brunt. And minus UK, the EU’s power will be cut to half. It’s for their mutual needs that both should not allow each other to be separated. Both will have to pay the price for this separation!

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