Cameron wants to bring EU referendum forward
According to media reports the British government wants to hold the referendum on the UK's EU membership before 2017. Commentators see the move to bring the vote forward as a sensible step because it would allow Prime Minister David Cameron to make the most of his election victory while also providing swifter clarity for politicians and the markets.
PM should make most of election tailwind
From Cameron's point of view there are good domestic and foreign policy reasons for bringing the EU referendum forward, the left-liberal daily The Guardian comments: "The best Cameron can hope for from Brussels is a postdated cheque for future reforms: an extra year won't make that much of a difference. Except the longer he leaves it, the more his newly amassed pile of political capital will have decayed. (French and German elections due in 2017 also limit the time available for constructive bargaining.) By moving quickly, the prime minister can brandish his shiny winner's mandate at surly backbenchers and appeal to the country for support. That will get harder as mid-term malaise deepens."
Good reasons for bringing referendum forward
The sooner the British vote on leaving or staying in the EU the better, comments Carlos Carnicero Urabayen in his blog for El Huffington Post: "There's a simple reason for this. The sooner the referendum is held, the sooner the cloud of uncertainty hanging over the UK will be dispelled. Let's not fool ourselves: if today the markets are celebrating Cameron's re-election, the day after tomorrow they'll start asking whether the country in which they are investing will remain a member of the EU. The sooner this question is answered, the better. And there are other reasons why Cameron will try to hold the referendum in 2016. France holds its presidential election in 2017 - and guess what? In July of the same year the UK takes over the rotating EU presidency."
Cameron must kick off reforms in EU
If the new British government really wants to bring the referendum forward it should hurry up and push for reforms in the EU, the conservative daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung urges: "In that case Cameron's government must explain precisely what reforms it wants; so far the talk has been of things like strengthening national parliaments and making it more difficult for EU citizens looking for work to claim social benefits. … If there are to be substantial changes to the treaties it won't be possible to adhere to an ambitious schedule, and the phase of uncertainty will be prolonged. Above all Cameron needs to secure partners to support him and form a majority coalition. So far he doesn't seem to have done too well in this respect. If British hardness comes up against continental stubbornness, a Brexit will draw ever closer. The goal should be a reform of the EU that works to everyone's advantage."