should Britain continue to be a member of the EU? Apr99
should Britain continue to be a member of the European Union?
Europe was shattered by two
world wars. Millions lost
their lives, their families and their homes. Conflict, in Europe, did not
end in 1945. Since then, we have witnessed the tyranny and murder in
Russia, Eastern Europe, Cyprus, Chechnya, and Bosnia.
In Kosovo today we see
children and women slaughtered,
villages and towns destroyed. Milosovich & his army use terrror, rape
and murder for ethnic cleansing on a scale that we have not seen since the
days of Hitler. We must not tolerate such genocide and inhumanity in the
heart of Europe.
Britain’s role in NATO and its leadership in Europe show clearly
the importance of Britain’s membership of the EU. Whilst some member
states hesitate to support NATO Britain stands up for humanity and
justice. We should all be proud of our armed forces as they risk their
lives to give Britain this strength, influence and respect.
In the EU, Britain is the only country with a record of peaceful,
democratic government for many centuries.
It is a major oil producer and the only oil exporter in the EU.
It has the largest non-EU trade. London’s financial market is the
biggest in Europe.
Therefore, it should not surprise us that Europeans acknowledge our
cultural and historical ties to Europe; they respect our political
maturity; they envy our international influence; they value our economic
strength. Above all they
trust our sense of fair play and civic responsibility.
Many EU member states, particularly the smaller states who fear
German-French domination, expect us to lead in Europe.
Let us not be isolated on the periphery of Europe.
Let us promote our vision of Europe and shape its future to suit
We should help achieve a true single market in Europe such that
Britain is the engine of global free trade.
We should promote free and flexible labour markets to create real
jobs in the EU.
We should facilitate enlargement to the East so that we have a
Europe of nation states.
We should insist on reform of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP)
and the Fisheries policy so that our farmers and fishermen have a fair
We should strengthen the role of national parliaments to scrutinise
EU documents, draft legislation and cases of fraud so that there is zero
tolerance on waste and fraud.
We should resist interference from Brussels with respect to
withholding tax on savings, tax harmonisation, frontier controls and
treaty changes as these matters are best left to national parliaments.
We should seek more co-operation – but NOT integration – in
areas of common interest e.g. environment, transport networks,
It is time for the faceless men of Brussels, living in their ivory
towers, to stop invading our lives. They
should be, like our civil service, responsible only for implementing
legislation in an impartial manner. They should, when required, be accountable to national
parliaments, and in cases of proven fraud, forced out of office with
Britain adopt the Euro?
There are four benefits in adopting the Euro:-
Competition, across Europe, will be open
and intense. Prices will be
lower, and the strong companies will be better placed to compete globally.
Efficient capital markets:- The Euro will create a single European
debt and equity market. Savings
will flow to highest return investments.
Reduced risk to business of exchange rate volatility:-
The Euro will eliminate exchange risk
from trade and investments within Europe, allowing companies to focus on
their actual business, rather than managing financial risk.
Lower interest rate:-
The interest rate for borrowing in Euro
is half the rate for the pound Sterling.
This means lower cost for existing and new investment in all
European industry and trade.
The 11 countries in Euro-land enjoy these
benefits now. Greece, Denmark and Sweden will do so when they join in
60% of our trade is with the Euro-land.
British companies, especially our exporters & manufacturers,
will face higher costs for borrowing and managing exchange risk as the
pound fluctuates. The Social
Chapter, forced upon us by Blair’s Government, now imposes extra costs
on employing labour here. These
extra costs will erode our competitive advantage and discourage foreign
investors from investing here; they will force our manufacturers to
re-locate in Euro-land precipitating job losses in our industries in
There are good reasons for our caution. Let me give you just a few.
Lack of labour mobility, disagreement on
fiscal policy between industry and government, and Trade Union fear of
further unemployment from privatisation of state-owned industries will
continue to put pressure on the Euro. It has already weakened
substantially against Sterling and the Dollar.
Unfortunately, Blair & Brown wish to
abandon the pound and they quote widespread support in the country for
It is true that larger companies in
Britain - including exporters - with investments across Europe – like
the major car manufacturers, banks, pharmaceutical, engineering &
insurance companies, wish to adopt the Euro.
But smaller companies, especially those
operating strictly in the UK, tend to be reluctant or opposed.
The CBI and the British Chamber of
Commerce favour the Euro. But
the Federation of Small Businesses and the Institute of Directors are
The British public remains confused,
uninformed and undecided. This
is why there are different views in all political Parties. Let us monitor
our business cycle and the stability of our exchange rate over time so
that we can see the impact of the Euro on our economy. Let us consider
both the constitutional aspect of sovereignty and the economic arguments.
Only then, should we decide what is in our best interest.
can we play our full part in Europe?
We know that ordinary citizens in Europe
reject a super federal European state.
They have suffered enough from the dead hand of bureaucracy, high
taxation and inefficient centralised services.
Every European country cherishes its distinct culture, identity and
All Conservatives support a Europe of
nation states and reject any political integration. We wish to be “In
Europe, but not run by Europe”.
Let this principle guide and unite us, so that we can persuade the
public to support us. Therefore, ladies & gentlemen, let us make this
distinct principle the hallmark for a successful Conservative Europe – a
Europe where national identity thrives to strengthen peace and prosperity