Tuesday, 24 June 2014

A Liberal Critique of the EU, by Steve Radford

The Liberal Party opposes the European Union as currently constituted.

In particular, we oppose the concept of a Single European Currency, harmonisation of taxes, and any move towards a Single European Army.

It is without doubt untenable to have a single currency without the discipline of a single economic government.

Europe has always been diverse in terms of politics, religion, economics and social structures - imposing uniformity is fundamentally illiberal.

The arrogance of the current EU polite elite is actually aggravating the very social and political extremes that the EU is supposedly here to prevent.

The claim that the EU has brought peace is an insulting nonsense.

I do not wake every morning worrying that the Norwegian Navy is to invade up the Thames as they do not belong to the EU.

The reality is NATO has acted to ensure peace Western and Central Europe more than the EU, whatever reservations we have about USA predominance in NATO.

It is beyond doubt that NATO tackled the Kosovo crisis whilst the EU was impotent.

I fear the current crisis in the Ukraine has been aggravated by the EU seeking to expand east with a dangerous contempt of legitimate Russian interests and an ignorance of history.

As Liberals, we believe in social and economic diversity we support the concept of a Commonwealth of Europe in which communities are free to operate their own economies, use their own currencies and levy their own taxes, while making common cause on matters of regional concern such as peace and the environment.

The Liberal Party seeks to reform the European Union from within, working with the growing number of political movements seeking reform.

We recognises that the enlargement of the EU will have a substantial impact in stimulating trade and prosperity, will protect democracy and human rights, and has already made a significant contribution to political stability and international security in Eastern Europe.

However, those countries should be able to develop their own economic structures at a pace and direction of their choice whilst ensuring common democratic standards.

It is worrying that the single currency, and imposed financial structures on countries such as Cyprus and Greece, are leading to a dangerous alienation of the populations, and are undermining democracy itself.

There is no reason why a multi-track Europe would not be more stable, with France, Germany and there Benelux countries having a single currency.

There are pragmatic reasons why the Mediterranean countries such as Italy, Spain and Greece should control their own economies, rather than expect the EU to take responsibility and in effect bail them out.

A more diverse Europe would also be in a more flexible position to build bridges with Turkey.

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