Monday, 19 May 2014

The 4 Freedoms Party: The UK EPP, by Dirk Hazell

Reforming Europe matters for Londoners’ jobs: IT, finance, services, and others.

It follows that Londoners need a strong voice in the European Parliament to safeguard jobs, pensions and public services.

Europe’s strongest political party is the mainstream EPP European People’s Party.

The EPP is the party of Germany’s Angela Merkel, Ireland’s Enda Kenny, Poland’s Donald Tusk, and Sweden’s Fredrik Reinfeldt.

These are leaders who should be Britain’s closest friends and allies in reforming Europe. Unfortunately for Britain, the Conservatives left the EPP in 2009.

In the 2009-14 European Parliament, there were more EPP MEPs than in the Tory plus UKIP plus Green plus LibDem groups combined.

This matters for many reasons.

A study by the London School of Economics shows the Conservatives in the European Parliament are weak and marginalised.

The bigoted anti-women, anti-gay and anti-green views within the Conservative group’s odd collection of fringe parties clash with London’s openness. Indeed, since January 2013 in two votes out of three, the Conservatives’ group sided with UKIP’s.

As at the time of writing this article, disturbing revelations have come to light about the Tories’ discussions with hard right parties in an attempt to save the group they created on leaving the EPP.

VoteWatch Europe’s data reveals that the UKIP and Tory lead candidates in London have missed so many roll call votes they are in the bottom 10 per cent of MEPs.

As for the Liberals’ EU group, the British and Germans currently form the largest delegations. But YouGov surveys suggest only 1 in 4 of those who intended to vote LibDem in 2010 intend to do so in 2014.

In Germany’s 2009 General Election, Liberals had won 93 seats, but they lost every single one in 2013. London needs not a declining, but a strong and growing, voice.

The EPP is not only by far the strongest party: it is the best available party.

In the last five years, the EPP secured billions of pounds to get young people into work, help 4 million Europeans to train, and help 300,000 small firms.

The EPP simplified rules for small firms but strengthened consumer and health rights, environmental protection and external border controls.

We support the 4 Freedoms in President FD Roosevelt’s iconic 1941 Address: freedoms of speech and faith, freedoms from want and fear.

We also support the 4 core EU freedoms of movement of people, goods, services and capital. This is no licence to defraud social security.

We believe government should be local to people. People know best what works for them and Brussels and Whitehall must listen to them.

More broadly, the EPP believes every person deserves the greatest chance of fulfilment.

This includes both helping businesses to offer good and sustainable jobs, and also offering protection with dignity to the vulnerable.

It is a harshness sapping the soul of society when billionaires are richer than ever but others are having to turn to soup kitchens.

British politicians, not “Brussels”, are responsible for problems like housing shortages, educational and training shortfalls, archaic transport, aircraft carriers without planes, and substandard cancer care.

The truth is London needs Europe and Europe needs London: we all need reform!

In this election, we offer a strong team with real business experience and knowhow on getting results in Brussels.

Our candidates include an Irish woman, a British man with a Polish father, a French woman, and native Londoners.

As MEPs in Europe’s strongest Party, we will restore London’s strong voice: Europe’s leading city, Europe’s leading party.

We a strong economy with opportunity for the young, alongside protection and dignity for the vulnerable.

Although this is not a General Election, others dwell in their Manifestos on issues for the British Parliament to decide:  sterling, referendum, and opt outs.

We will focus on safeguarding millions of Londoners’ future jobs. We have five priorities:-
  • help Londoners to do more business anywhere in Europe and beyond. We agree with the CBI and TheCityUK: Europe must be more open and complete major trade deals with, for example, the USA.
  • digital union not digital divide: 1 in 4 new jobs for Londoners comes from technology. London needs an EU single digital market. We support free WiFi across Europe.
  • improved education, skills and training for all Londoners, regardless of postcode: we will help you to benefit from open opportunities for education, training and work experience such as the 40 per cent increase secured by the EPP in the Erasmus+ scheme.
  • lighter regulation for smaller firms: most Londoners work for smaller firms. We agree with what the Federation of Small Businesses says that they need.
  • safeguarding freedom, justice and the environment: Thames winter floods reminded us that London depends on a healthy planet. All Europeans need affordable, secure and sustainable energy.
Treating people with dignity includes safeguarding freedom and human rights such as privacy and protection, for example from terrorism and crime.

We offer what people want: we are experiencing exceptionally high correlation between awareness and support.

While the converse is also true, it is certain that if sufficient Londoners know what we offer, we will do well.

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