9 November 2015

EU renegotiation won’t be easy, but all is still to play for

David Cameron’s much-anticipated letter to European Council President Donald Tusk will be sent tomorrow. Open Europe has yesterday published a new ‘EU reform heat-map’ giving an overview of where each of the other 27 EU member states stands on the UK’s main reform proposals likely to be included in the letter.

OE_map_EU Reform Complete itemprop=

The briefing was trailed by The Sunday Times – which also reproduced our maps. It was also featured in the Financial Times, The Daily Mail, City AM, a leader in The Daily Telegraph, EUObserver and Politico’s daily Brussels Playbook.

Open Europe’s Vincenzo Scarpetta is quoted by the Financial Times as saying,

The vast majority of [EU] states are open-minded but remain to be convinced.

Open Europe co-Director Raoul Ruparel is quoted by City AM as saying,

Cameron has a lot of work to do to explain what he wants…While other [EU] countries might be supportive, they are not necessarily going to go out and bang the drum for him.

The heat-map is not a quantitative but an explanatory exercise. Open Europe based its assessment on public statements made by politicians – where available – and on insights gathered from conversations with officials and diplomats from various EU member states.

Our research suggests that the vast majority of EU member states are open-minded vis-à-vis the UK’s reform agenda, but remain to be fully convinced on specific issues. In other words, Cameron’s letter cannot come soon enough.

Ireland, the Netherlands and the Nordics are likely to be the most supportive throughout the renegotiation. At the opposite end, Belgium, Spain and Luxembourg could be the hardest to win over. Of the big member states, Italy may well turn out to be more helpful than thought – but the on-going refugee crisis could undermine Rome’s goodwill.

If you want to read the full analysis underpinning our heat-map, including our country-by-country assessment and a wide selection of quotes from leading European politicians, please click here.

If you want to check out the individual maps relating to a specific EU reform proposal, please click here (safeguards for non-Eurozone countries), here (end ‘ever closer union’ for all EU member states), here (limiting EU migrants’ access to welfare), here (‘red card’ for national parliaments), and here (single market, free trade and EU regulation).