Opinion: London’s better future in a better Europe – each united in diversity

Dirk_HazellBy Dirk Hazell, Leader and London Region MEP candidate for 4 Freedoms Party (UK EPP) (pictured, right) – @DirkHazell and Dr NoelleAnne O’Sullivan, London Region MEP candidate for 4 Freedoms Party (UK EPP) (pictured, below) – @PolComms

Today (22 May), the British are the first in Europe to vote in this year’s key European elections. Ahead of this important UK vote, addressing last night’s Confederation of British Industry’s (CBI) annual dinner in London, CBI President Sir Mike Rake warned British businesses that the risk of Britain leaving the EU is already causing uncertainty and jeopardizing future UK inward investment.

photo profileThe British government should heed this clear warning. The UK must not be dragged out of the EU because the Conservative Party under David Cameron has been infiltrated by the UKIP militant tendency.

We believe that London’s future is at the heart of Europe. Yes, the EU needs reforming – but this should be done by working with our European partners instead of constantly criticising from the side lines. Britain is a great country with a great people, united in diversity and capable of leading not leaving the EU.

As the EU – steered by Europe’s leading party the mainstream centre-right EPP European People’s Party – reforms during the next five years, only 4 Freedoms Party (UK EPP) can offer Londoners a strong voice inside the EPP. The EPP political family plans to create millions of new jobs through wide-ranging European reforms and initiatives such as the EU digital single market.

By working within the mainstream, we will deliver real results for London and beyond – including completing the single market, launched twenty-five years ago as a British Conservative initiative that was substantially conceived by our lead candidate in London Dirk Hazell. 4 Freedoms Party (UK EPP) will bring people together, not drive them apart.

In a recent discussion about the new 4 Freedoms Party (UK EPP) broadcast on BBC TV’s Daily Politics Show, the former CBI head, Lord Jones agreed that Mr Cameron was wrong to flounce out of the powerful mainstream EPP Group. Sadly, Mr Cameron puts his own survival as party leader ahead of the British national interest, as he takes Britain to the brink of Brexit. British Euro-MP Daniel Hannan’s bandwagon of UKIP sympathisers is clearly taking over, dragging the Conservative Party over the edge.

British PM David Cameron has effectively lost control of his fringe Euro-Group. Since January 2013, Tory-led ECR Group MEPs have voted two-thirds of the time with Farage’s UKIP-led EFD MEPs: making themselves jointly amongst the European Parliament’s least influential MEPs.

In contrast, 4 Freedoms Party (UK EPP) MEPs will guarantee British input into EPP action on jobs, prosperity and security. One British MEP in the EPP will be worth more to Britain than UKIP’s entire delegation.

As a past Tory party leader William Hague – and his then-adviser George Osborne – will recall sitting with mainstream centre-right leaders at regular EPP Summits. Messrs Hague and Osborne must now know beyond doubt how serious a mistake Cameron made in ordering Conservative Euro-MPs to leave the EPP in 2009, surrendering the valuable chance to shape European policy from within. Cameron constantly caves into UKIP, but appeasement never works!

4 Freedoms Party (UK EPP) will start to repair the damage Mr Cameron created. We offer London voters a positive platform of policies, reflecting a refreshing and forward-looking interpretation of mainstream centre ground and centre-right values. We embrace the four fundamental EU freedoms of movement for people, goods, services and capital – plus the four freedoms outlined in US President FD Roosevelt’s iconic 1941 State of the Union address, namely: freedoms of speech and worship, freedoms from want and fear.

Our EPP values combine a strong economy with dignity for the retired and vulnerable. We believe in social and environmental justice. We have a cast iron commitment, sadly under attack from others in Britain, to guarantee human rights.

British votes cast today will count toward building political groupings in Brussels. A vote for the wrong party risks creating new hard and far right political groupings in the European Parliament that will try to reduce our European freedoms.

We must challenge UKIP’s anti-EU fearmongers and fellow travellers: their distortion of the past and present, their oppressive view of the future. The fictional past that Farage and his UKIP sympathisers conjure up is a betrayal of our real history. We in the UK are a great people with a strong tradition of being fair and open. Farage’s anti-immigrant, xenophobic fear mongering has cheapened this European election campaign. Farage’s gibes distort truth and divert attention from real problems made in Britain – not Brussels.

People are coming through tough times. It is a harshness that saps at the soul of society when billionaires are richer than ever, while food banks have become a tragic need for the vulnerable. British politicians must not get away with blaming ‘Brussels’ for housing shortages, educational shortfalls, archaic transport, aircraft carriers without planes and other domestic problems, such as substandard cancer care, for which British politicians are alone responsible.

As our EPP Commission Presidential candidate Jean-Claude Juncker told a packed press conference in Brussels yesterday afternoon: “Do vote, but do not give your votes to extremists, xenophobes or fascists, as they unfortunately continue to exist in Europe. If we want Europe to function and to serve its citizens, we should vote for people who will work hard in the next European Parliament, who will defend European values and fundamental rights, which continue to come under regular attack both at home and abroad.”

4 Freedoms Party (UK EPP) standing in London – with a full list of eight candidates, including citizens from other EU member states – will be a strong voice in the European Parliament, defending the freedoms of everyone who lives, works and studies in London and beyond.  We believe in bringing people together, not driving them apart.

Elected 4 Freedoms Party (UK EPP) MEPs will join the EPP Group in the European Parliament when it reconvenes in the first week of July. As MEPs we will sit with the powerful EPP political family of Angela Merkel and other mainstream centre-right EU leaders.

We believe in London. We believe in Europe. We believe in people. @UK_EPP

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