Sir, Alex Barker and George Parker allude to the remark by Frans Timmermans, the Dutch vice-president of the European Commission, to the effect that the British are “unique” and for that reason deserve some sort of special treatment in their forthcoming attempts to renegotiate their relationship to Europe (“Conservative eurosceptics flock to sovereignty banner”, June 10). This remark calls for two responses.

First, the British are no more unique than any other nationality within the EU and clearly have no legitimate claim to special status on these grounds. Second, and more important, the British have on balance had a negative influence on the developmental trajectory of the Union. They have pushed market logic and commercial interests at the expense of political integration; they have consistently encouraged enlargement, thus covertly promoting the same ends; and now they are hypocritically seeking to curtail labour market integration. David Cameron’s lone veto of EU-wide changes to the Lisbon treaty in 2011 plumbed the depths of this stubborn waywardness.

General de Gaulle was absolutely correct when he blocked British membership of the EEC on the grounds that Britain harboured a “deep-seated hostility” to any pan-European project. The evident deduction from the European perspective is not to wait for the British referendum, but to act now to expel this persistent source of disruption forthwith and to get on with the important tasks of post-nationalist, post-sovereigntist reconstruction.

Allen J Scott

Distinguished Research Professor,

Dept of Public Policy,


Letter in response to this letter:

Britain’s views are shared across the EU / From Charles Horner

Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2018. All rights reserved.