If the British general election was a shock to many in the UK, then it was equally so for the chancelleries across the European Union. As much as they had started to think about a British renegotiation and referendum, there has been a very strong sense that the election result would throw that out of the window. Any such thoughts are now firmly gone. Dr Simon Usherwood explores the outcome of the British General Election and the implications for a British in-out EU referendum.
Partly because no one seemed to really expect to win a majority, all of the main parties in the election took a relatively firm line on the EU, so that they could use it in any coalition negotiations. Perhaps none had been as firm as the Tories, with their red line on renegotiation and a referendum: having suffering both internally and externally for stepping back from a popular vote on the Lisbon Treaty, David Cameron needed to be seen to following through.
Thus, it should be no surprise that in his earliest pronouncements after the results became clear, Cameron signalled that he was going to push through the necessary legislation for a vote in short order in the new parliament. While his party might disagree about many aspects of European policy, he can be assured that this will pass.
However, the easy part ends there.