Ken Clarke, Danny Alexander and Lord Mandelson warn against EU exit

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Ken Clarke, Danny Alexander and Lord Mandelson warn against EU exit Empty Ken Clarke, Danny Alexander and Lord Mandelson warn against EU exit

Post  Sirop14 on Mon Jul 15, 2013 8:06 am

Ken Clarke, Danny Alexander and Lord Mandelson warn against EU exit

The Conservative cabinet minister Ken Clarke has joined forces with Liberal Democrat Danny Alexander and Labour's Lord Mandelson to warn that leaving the EU would be a "historical error".

The politicians insisted the UK should work to reform the organisation from within rather than walking away.

The intervention came as the cross-party British Influence group launched its manifesto, Better off in a Better Europe.

In the wake of David Cameron's pledge of an in-out referendum on membership by 2017, the document warns against threatening unilateral repatriation of powers.

But it also concedes that the EU must be "rebooted for the 21st century" and that treaty change is inevitable, arguing that control should be returned to member states in some areas.

Clarke, seen as the Cabinet's sole Tory Europhile, said: "This is a compelling and practical manifesto for a reformed Europe focused on growth and competitiveness. David Cameron has already shown what can be achieved in Europe through strong, determined leadership.

"This document brings out the huge further rewards the British can reap by remaining doggedly engaged in Europe and determined to help set the agenda.

"We earn our living in a globalised economy and a world in which nations are interdependent in tackling global and regional problems.

"We can help to promote our own interests best by reinforcing our role as a leading nation in the EU."

Alexander, the Treasury minister, said the EU was "one of the central pillars of British prosperity and security.

"Membership of the EU gives market access to British firms, makes us more attractive to overseas investors and underpins more than 3m British jobs.

"EU trade deals with the US, India, Canada and Japan will be worth billions to the UK economy but could not be won by the UK alone.

"Britain must work with our allies for change from within to ensure the EU continues to take reform seriously.

"The isolationists are reckless with our prosperity and security. We cannot let them succeed."

Mandelson, the former business secretary, said: "If Britain quit the EU, among the losers would be businesses forgoing trade and investment opportunities, their employees whose jobs and workplace rights would be at risk, the police and security agencies who would sacrifice vital collaboration and the British people who would lose the freedom to travel, live and work as they wish across Europe.

"In return we would get the dubious satisfaction of standing alone in the world."

The manifesto states: "By creating alliances with those who share our 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 the wider world.

"It would be a historical error to abandon this task now, just when Britain's clout is more than ever needed."

But it adds that the aim of "ever closer union" in every policy area is wrong. The document calls for the EU to become "leaner and meaner", saying it must "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".

Comment: Morning after those in Angers - Loire 14/7/2013


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