BBC News - William Hague: Britons' EU disillusionment deepest ever


In a speech at Berlin's Korber Foundation, Foreign Secretary William Hague said: "This coalition government is committed to Britain playing a leading role in the EU but I must also be frank - public disillusionment with the EU in Britain is the deepest it has ever been.

"People feel that in too many ways the EU is something that is done to them, not something over which they have a say."

"People feel that the EU is a one-way process, a great machine that sucks up decision-making from national parliaments to the European level until everything is decided by the EU. That needs to change.

"If we cannot show that decision-making can flow back to national parliaments then the system will become democratically unsustainable.

"The eurozone countries must do what they must to resolve the crisis, but the way forward for the EU as a whole is not more centralisation and uniformity but of flexibility and variable geometry, that allows differing degrees of integration in different areas, done in ways that do not disadvantage those that do not wish to participate in everything, and preserves the things we all value."

Mr Hague added: "There are three great problems of Europe's future we need to solve if we are to ensure that a wider the European Union has the flexibility, the legitimacy and the agility to succeed in the 21st century.

"First, how we structure the EU when many countries want differing kinds of integration and still preserve the EU's essential unity. Second, how we deal with the problem of democratic legitimacy and accountability of decision-making in the EU, which is a growing concern in most member states. "Third, how we get the right balance of what the EU does do or doesn't do."