40 years of Britain in the EU – UK Parliament lecture

Labour Party

Yesterday I spoke at an Open Lecture event organised by the Houses of Parliament. My speech was entitled “40 years of the EU of Britain in the European Union”. Here are some extracts from it.

“As a Labour MEP I am not only pro-European but positive about the EU. It is a unique and in many ways amazing institution comprising 27 member states speaking 23 languages stretching from Finland in the north to Cyprus in the south.

Cyprus reminds us of the current problems in the Eurozone, the sovereign debt crisis and the bailouts of Greece, Ireland, Portugal and Spain. The Eurozone crisis is serious, though there is recession across the globe – Britain is not exempt.

The fact remains that EU membership after 40 years is very much a part of our life in the UK. The EU is not the precursor to a super state – it has clear competences and clear delineation of subsidiarity. It is also flexible, with new institutions continually evolving

Those who call for a referendum do not truly understand the enormity of unpicking governmental, economic and legislative arrangements which have been in place for more than a generation.”

I then went on to speak about why and how the EU was set up, what it stands for, milestones in its history, how the institutions work, what it has achieved/its benefits, some current issues and what the future might be. 

You can watch the lecture on the BBC Parliament channel on Saturday, 23rd March at 22.00 hours.