Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Liberal Democrats on the European Union #whyiamIN

Speaking last week, Nick Clegg declared that when a referendum on the EU comes the Liberal Democrats will campaign unambiguously as the party of IN. As he said, leaving the EU would be ‘economic suicide’.

He called on pro-Europeans, businesses and organisations to join a ‘coalition for the national interest’ to make the case publicly for the benefits of being in Europe. He launched the party’s #whyiamIN campaign, calling on people to declare why they are in favour of being in Europe, which received thousands of online responses including support from Richard Branson.

He said: “Whatever you do, just don’t let the isolationists speak for you or dominate this debate. And if you are for IN, don’t wait for others to say it; make yourselves heard.”

Liberal Democrats are fighting to defend millions of jobs, create millions more and put thousands of pounds back in your pocket by supporting EU membership, making it easier for British companies to trade with the EU and beyond, slashing red tape for small businesses and cutting the EU budget.

The EU is crucial to British jobs and growth: around 50% of our trade is with the EU; around 50% of foreign companies investing in the UK are European; and over 3m British jobs are linked to EU trade.

Lib Dems have delivered:

  • Jobs by boosting trade – the launch of the EU-US trade agreement worth an extra £10bn to the UK economy each year, and the final agreement on the EU-South Korea trade deal which has seen British exports to South Korea increase by £2bn
  • Jobs by investing in businesses – EU funding that has created 222,196 new jobs and supported 207,662 small businesses. In 2012, EU grants and loans invested £10.4bn in the UK
  • Jobs in science and manufacturing – £60bn EU-wide funding to support research and technology in universities and companies across the UK
  • Jobs for British inventors – an EU patent system, so inventors only need to register their product once to protect it across the EU from intellectual property theft rather than 28 times, saving entrepreneurs up to £20,000 per patent
  • Cutting red tape – an exemption for over 100,000 British businesses from complicated accounting rules, saving small businesses up to £390m a year in admin costs
  • Lower EU Budget – a £30bn EU budget cut while delivering extra investment in jobs and growth

Referendum

Nick Clegg said: “We are no longer asking if Britain will have a referendum on continued membership, we are asking when Britain will have a referendum on continued membership. The parties differ on the timing: The Conservative Party want one in 2017, regardless of what’s happening in Europe at that time: it’s a date chosen for internal party management as much as anything else. The Liberal Democrats believe it will be far better to have the referendum when a serious change to Europe’s rules, affecting the UK, next arises.”