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March 1, 2012 / ultrafox1963

The patriotic case for Britain in Europe

We are living through a period of unprecedented change in global power and influence.

The traditional economic domination of Europe and the US is giving way to China, Brazil, India and others. Our energy-hungry economies are struggling with the reality of climate change, while increasingly reliant on foreign energy sources. Meanwhile, poverty, instability and unrest are able to spill across borders as never before.

The continent is beset by economic challenges on a scale we have not faced in generations. Mass unemployment, currency crises and the insecurity of trading markets are international issues which demand international solutions. In order to reach these solutions, the countries of Europe will increasingly recognise the need to co-operate together, rather than compete with each other.

The urgent need to boost jobs and growth, secure energy, tackle climate change and ensure our security means we cannot continue to think in old ways. To ensure a prosperous future for Britain, we must face up to the new global realities.

On all of these issues, standing alone, Britain’s voice and influence will be limited. But as part of the European Union of 27 countries, the British voice can be heard and our national interests can be protected.

It’s common sense that, at global trade talks and energy negotiations, we’ll have more weight and influence as a part of a powerful bloc of 27 countries, than we would alone.

It’s common sense that, as a group of 27, we’ll have more expertise and finance to invest in research and development of the technologies of the future and the jobs they’ll create.

And it’s common sense that, by pooling our resources and efforts, we can help tackle poverty and instability – and prevent the major issues, such as crime and terrorism, they can otherwise create.

Of course there are those who say Britain would be better off as a member of the Single Market only. But they fail to acknowledge that, to continue that relationship – on which 40% of British trade depends – we would still have to comply with EU standards and rules, we just wouldn’t have a say when those rules are decided.

British interests are best served by being in the room when the decisions are being made.

That’s why MEPs should stand up for British jobs, workers, consumers and families every day in the European Parliament.

They should also campaign for reform of the EU, to make it better and more efficient and to ensure it is focused on our key priority – to boost jobs and growth.

It would be foolish to make “cast-iron” guarantees about the possible outcomes of future decision-making processes within the EU. However it would be grossly irresponsible to argue, as Eurosceptics in UKIP, the Tory Party and elsewhere do, that we should opt out of making any form of contribution to those processes.

It is for Britain’s future prosperity, our security and our place in the world, that we must make the EU work.

The contents of this post are based upon an article by Glenis Willmott MEP.

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