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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Top table syndrome, 6 Jun. 2014
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This review is from: The Trouble with Europe: Why the EU isn't working - How it can be reformed - What could take its place (Hardcover)
A very good book. Surprisingly for a book on economics I found that the most helpful concept was that of "the top table syndrome" - the idea that British diplomats and senior politicians like to feel they are helping to run the world rather than just their own small islands.

From a medium or long term economic and social perspective there seem two logically consistent alternatives. Either fully commit to the European Project, make plans to join the euro and help shape our future within Europe or alternatively commit to withdrawal and negotiate a free trade agreement with the EU. The third alternative that we stay in the EU but outside the euro seems deeply unsatisfactory: what happens to our economy, employment and migration rates is crucially dependent on what happens in the euro-zone yet we will have no influence on its future.

I have been puzzled as to why the British foreign policy establishment seems desperate to keep us in the EU even outside the eurozone. Even allowing for two or three years of great economic uncertainty the economics do not seem to justify that opposition. However, once you accept the existence of the "Top table syndrome" all becomes clear. It is about "punching above our weight", "securing influence"; it is about keeping our seat on the UN Security Council; it is about justifying keeping an independent nuclear deterrent. Inside the EU the elite can maintain great power pretensions but outside we become another Canada.
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