News > New British government has a unique opportunity to reposition Britain as an engaged and leading member of the European Union

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  • 8th May 2015 - 13:17 GMT

New British government has a unique opportunity to reposition Britain as an engaged and leading member of the European Union

The European Movement International (EMI) hopes that the new UK government will keep the UK firmly rooted within the European family. Speculation around a UK exit will only create uncertainty for the European Union and the UK, at a time when our security and economic wellbeing depends on Europe pulling together and European nations standing side by side to address the common challenges faced by our people.

Jo Leinen MEP, President, EMI, said:
British membership of the European Union has created prosperity and stability for the people of both the United Kingdom and the other member states of the European Union. The United Kingdom belongs in Europe and I hope it will continue to play an important role within the European Union. With the elections being over, politicians on both sides of the Channel should now focus on avoiding a ‘Brexit’ by discussing the advantages created by Europe working together in an increasingly globalised world. I am sure a mutually acceptable and beneficial arrangement can be found, which will address possible British concerns and respect the EU’s fundamental values, not least the right of free movement.

While the UK’s relationship with the EU has not always been plain sailing, the facts of mutual benefits speak for themselves. With 50% of UK trade done with the EU, research shows that a ‘Brexit’ could reduce UK GDP by as much as 14%. Through its EU membership the UK stands taller on the international stage, leaving would serve to weaken the UK and the EU at a time when imminent threats on Europe’s borders call for more collective action.

Petros Fassoulas, former Chairman, European Movement UK and incoming Secretary General, European Movement International, said:
With a referendum on the UK’s EU membership upon us, we must resist the forces of division and nationalism. Detachment from the EU will be an abandonment of the national interest and will diminish Britain’s leading role in the world. The new UK government has a unique opportunity to position itself at the centre of where the decisions that affect us all are made. The UK’s European partners want us there, not least because the UK’s place has always been with Europe. We are inextricably linked, economically, politically, culturally and historically. Now, more than ever, the UK needs to work with its European partners to advance the EU’s objectives of competitiveness, growth, stability and security, so it is able to deliver more for people in the UK and across Europe.

The European Movement International believes that EU membership presents clear benefits for the UK, such as the opportunities created by a possible EU-US trade deal. But the UK can make the most of these opportunities only while it has a seat around the table.

Any concerns the British people have about their place in Europe must be addressed in an honest, open and fact-based debate on the merits of EU membership, at the local, national as well as European level. All stakeholders have an important role to play in this debate and the UK’s European partners will be there to show how welcome and necessary the British are in our European family.

Eva Paunova MEP, Vice President, EMI, said:
The UK debate on a referendum often centres around immigration and the costs of EU membership, but it ignores the many benefits that being in the EU creates, including the fact that over 2 million Brits make use of the right to live, study, work or retire in other European member states. Inside the EU, the UK can make the most of those benefits.

[ENDS]

Notes to the Editors
1.The European Movement International (EMI) is one of the largest pan and pro-European civil society organisations with currently more than 70 Member Organisations, bringing together representatives from European associations, political parties, enterprises and trade unions. www.europeanmovement.eu

Media Contact
Alex Godson: +32 25 08 30 88 // +32 484 93 10 20 // Alex.Godson@europeanmovement.eu

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