A New Deal for Britain in Europe

Europe is changing and if we work with allies to reform the EU we can make even more of our membership. But Britain has to be engaged; we have to work within the EU for change and not take the defeatist and self-defeating route of leaving other countries to set the agenda in Europe. If we want to maximise prosperity, trade and jobs, if we want our own continent and the world to be safer and greener, if we want to be as influential as possible in world affairs, there is simply no alternative to the UK being an active and leading member of the EU. You can download the full manifesto here.

  • We believe in British global influence 
    • To Lead
      Britain is a leading power in many of the world’s most important global institutions – including the European Union, the world’s most powerful trading bloc. In a changing world, Britain must – and can – help to shape Europe’s future from inside. Any other course would constitute a voluntary surrender of national responsibility which would be defeatist and unworthy of our history. Britain must lead, not leave the European Union. We must “stay in it to win it”.
    • To Reform
      By creating alliances with those who shareour belief in boosting growth and jobs, we can actively reboot the EU for the 21st century and project our economic and political reform agenda in and through Europe to thewider world. It would be a historical error to abandon this task now, just when Britain’s clout is more than ever needed. At the same time, it should be recognized by EU leaders that the time for an ‘ever closer union’ in every possible policy area lies in the past.
    • To Influence 
      The only way to ensure that the EU reforms in the way we want is for Britain to work with allies for change from within. Leaving the EU would not only endanger our economy but undermine our political relationship with the US and our impact on China, India and other emerging powers. Isolation would make us weaker and poorer. The world is changing and Britain’s ability to influence the challenging global environment is best secured as a leading power in Europe.
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    • To Trade
      Britain helps to make and shape the rules which create jobs and which apply not only in Europe but globally. Outside the EU, selling British goods and services into Europe and beyond would mean complying with standards that we would no longer set. We already opt out of some aspects of EU activity where we have concluded that our interests are better served by not joining in. Flexibility is on offer and we should exploit it. But to walk away entirely would cut us adrift from our home market.
  • We believe a British EU Exit Wont  Save Us 
    • From Red Tape
      Quitting the EU would not mean less red tape. Any country wishing to trade with the EU has to comply with its commercial, environmental and social regulation, and pay for the privilege. Most red tape is home-grown. Much is generated by the business need for regulatory certainty. A British exit would undermine commercial stability, waste money and Parliamentary time re-enacting and renegotiating much of the EU law currently on the statute book.
    • From Cost
      Norway pays £1.7bn to the EU for Single Market access. If Britain left, we would pay two-thirds of what we do now – just to be part of a trade agreement. Also, the UK would lose the considerable political, social and economic benefits which are generated by our membership of the EU. Focus on the costs of membership obscures the fact that a UK outside the EU cannot expect cost-free access to the EU.
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    • From Controls 
      For the 1.4 million Britons living and working in the rest of the EU, leaving the EU would end reciprocal health, pension and welfare rights and the freedom to live, study and travel throughout the EU. For Britain the loss of the skilled labour of EU workers would cost the British economy. Exit would mean isolation not independence.
    • From Disinvestment 
      If Britain were no longer a business springboard into the Single Market, the UK’s position as the second largest destination in the world for foreign direct investment (FDI) would be in jeopardy. The 87% of British exporters who trade with the EU would face uncertainty. At a time of economic difficulty a new instability would undermine confidence in our economy
  • We believe in British Reform Influence 
    • For Jobs and Growth
      Britain, with allies, must refocus the EU on growth and jobs, making a priority of completing the Single Market in areas like energy, services and the digital economy; and resuming sustainable economic growth in all EU countries, for the benefit of all.
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    • For a more open Economy 
      We, and our allies, know that the EU needs to reform – to ensure that the European economy becomes more flexible, outward looking and globally competitive, and that it is more active in negotiating international trade deals, including the EU-US Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership. Single Market rules and external trade agreements should be aligned to maximise trading potential and minimise protectionism
    • For a Citizen’s Europe 
      The EU is not simply about business, it is about people. Britain has helped to ensure that throughout Europe common environmental standards are enforced, cross border crime  is tackled, consumer rights are protected, the prices of goods and services are competitive and proportionate social standards are respected
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    • For European Cooperation
      Britain should lead the EU reform campaign from within, not threaten unilateral repatriation of powers. A number of areas would be better left to member states rather than the EU. The UK’s Review of the Balance of Competences should be used as a factual backdrop to push for change in the EU for all its members and not just a special deal for Britain. Much can change in the EU without changing the treaties and there are lots of reforms we can make along with our partners in Europe. But at some point treaty change will also be inevitable
  • We Believe in British Democratic Influence.
    • For More Accountability 
      The EU needs to improve its efficiency by becoming “leaner and meaner” – to focus only on essential tasks and not be diverted, do better in getting value from its budget and eliminate fraud and be more transparent with its decision making processes which often appear opaque and distant from voters. For people to be reassured about democratic progress in Europe, the UK needs to radically improve its national parliamentary oversight of Brussels. Both Houses of Parliament should be far more effective in holding Brussels to account and working with other European governments and parliaments to achieve this
    • For More Freedom
      The EU must continue to guarantee the four key freedoms of movement of goods, of capital, of services and of labour, but also respond to people’s genuine concerns by ensuring that the rules governing them are appropriate for our time, as Europe’s population ages and the costs of social protection rise.
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    • For More Stability 
      It is in Britain’s interest that the eurozone has the structures necessary to ensure the stability and prosperity of its currency. But the UK must work with the Commission, the Council and the Parliament to ensure that the democratic rights of all member states, not just those in the eurozone, are respected and enforced consistently and with appropriate vigour. Eurozone group members should not be allowed to make rules on behalf of the EU 28 or rules that negatively impact the proper functioning of the Single Market