MEP leader welcomes Cameron speech

23-Jan-2013 @ 10:0

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Anthea McIntyre Anthea McIntyre

Anthea McIntyre Anthea McIntyre

Richard Ashworth, leader of Britain's Conservative MEPs, was in London today to hear PM Cameron's speech and hailed it a success.

He said: "Prime Minister Cameron has set out his vision for the future of Europe and the UK's relationship with a reformed European Union. He has reinforced his own preference for UK membership, but made it clear this cannot be taken for granted.

"I now call on fellow Conservatives to get behind this vision, to support the PM's strategy and to meet the challenge of helping the EU become a more flexible and friendly place for Britain.

"This is a call to Europe to match the rate of change of the outside world. Competitiveness will be the main challenge to the EU and regulation must change and allow industry to meet that challenge.

"We need a successful Euro both as a global currency and as Britain's largest trading partner - and this inevitably means closer integration among those member states in the Euro zone.

"But the way forward must enable us all to participate equally in the single market - inside the eurozone or out.

"The Prime Minister is determined to review and, where necessary, repatriate a number of powers such as social and employment law - and we back that as a key step to encourage industry and enterprise.

"David Cameron's government sees the current budget negotiations as a major opportunity for Europe to review its spending priorities. We as MEPs know there are examples where funding in wealthier states is not good use of EU money. We question the value for money of large swathes of the Common Agricultural Policy. We know it is time to look again at the problems of the Common Fisheries policy.

"Too many European people today see European Union as the cause of our problems; not the solution to those problems. That is why they have lost confidence in the Union. If we are to restore that confidence, that means change.

"Europe successfully confronted many of the problems that were facing our parent's generation. Now it's our turn to build a different kind of Europe, a Europe fit for our children's' generation."

"The PM promised the UK it will get a vote on membership .... correctly, once the renegotiation process is completed some time next parliament.

"It was a thoughtful speech. Most of the points were core Tory aspirations. It should reassure his party faithful that he is a man with a vision."

The full text of the Prime Minister's speech on Europe can be found here:

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