REFERENDUM: Former MEP says we must not lose sight of the big picture

Chris Davies, Liberal Democrat Member of the European Parliament (MEP) for North West of England between 1999 - 2014 says the EU debate has driven him to distraction.

Thursday, 9th June 2016, 2:18 pm
Updated Monday, 13th June 2016, 1:27 pm
Chris Davies MEP Liberal Democrat, North West of england

He said: “Our votes on June 23 threaten the future of Britain and may destroy the stability of Europe yet we seem to have lost sight of the big picture. For all its faults, the partnership of 28 nations that is the European Union has been a tremendous force for good.

It’s not so long ago that British troops and tanks were based in Germany to defend us from the Soviet threat.

Today, a host of former dictatorships have become democracies.

Problems are resolved not on a bloody battlefield but around committee tables in Brussels. British values have been embraced as European values.

Back in the 1980s the UK pushed hard to break down the barriers to trade and create the EU single market.

You hear a lot about EU rules and regulations but it’s often the case that instead of 28 different rules we now have just one.

Major North West companies like BAE Systems warn that leaving the EU would deter investment and threaten jobs.

We protect our environment to a higher standard than ever before.

We ensure that there are common minimum standards of safety and health, and fairer treatment for women and ethnic minorities.

We have put in place EU rules to stop greedy bankers destroying our economies again. It’s not all bad!

If we leave the EU we will still have to meet these standards in order to trade.

We won’t become stronger by leaving the room where the decisions are made. To do so would be like shooting ourselves in the foot.

An isolated Britain cannot alone deal with the migrants crisis, combat terrorism, stand up to Putin, avoid Chinese bullying, or tackle climate change. European partnership offers our best hope of progress, and if Donald Trump becomes president of the USA we may quickly find that we need more ‘Europe’ not less of it!

The British have become experts at criticising the EU, sometimes with good reason, but we would be poorer without it.

Instead of running away we should be determined to take on a leadership role, making it our mission to ensure that the EU is a strong force for good in a fast-changing world.