The EU Question

Too often in politics we believe there are only two sides to an argument, writes Peter Luff MP.

This is exactly what has happened over the question of Britain’s relationship with the EU – the stark choices being either to stay in and put up with everything or that we should leave the EU. If I was forced to choose one of these, it’s true I would choose to remain in the EU as the benefits from this relationship are vital to our economic and political stability.

But that’s not the real choice, thank heavens. Our relationship with the EU can be adjusted and we can stay in.

We should be pushing for a “two speed” Europe, made up of an inner core and an outer group of countries. The inner core would be the member states that are part of the Euro, enabling this group to live with the profound consequences of their common currency. The outer group would be for non-Euro members (the UK, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Latvia, Lithuania, Hungary, Poland, Romania and Sweden) who wish to remain in the EU.

This would allow Britain and the other non-euro countries to influence the decisions of the EU without being tied to the “ever closer union” of the Euro countries. Britain as the largest economy in this group would play a leading role.

Although I am writing this before the Prime Minister has given his long awaited speech on Britain and the EU, I’m clear the most important thing is that we do not to rush into a decision. A wait-and-see approach is what kept us out of the Euro and at this time of uncertainty in Europe we don’t want to rush into a decision that would damage our influence or cost local jobs.


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