What has Europe done for us? #1

Last year I wrote a couple of Guardian items, arguing for a referendum on Britain’s EU membership.

Not a stereotypical Lib Dem position, I know. So let me make it clear, I’d vote yes, and campaign for others to do the same. Europe has brought us peace and prosperity, and is the best way to tackle cross-border problems like pollution, climate change and organised crime.

London’s Lib Dem Euro candidates, led by Sarah Ludford and Jonathan Fryer, are all about making Europe work for us and for the values we share: a fair, free and greener society. And they’ll be getting my vote in the Euro elections this June.

But I think British citizens should have a say on Euro membership; I’ve had the vote for 25 years, and I’ve never had a vote on Europe. No-one under 50 has – in Britain at least.

The Euro-elections mean there’ll be plenty of debate about Europe: even though MEPs are not actually the people who can decide on the UK’s EU membership. And no doubt the Euro-sceptics will be rolling out all their favourite anti arguments and myths.

So it seems a good time to list a few of the good things we Brits have got out of Europe. And why, in my view, we’d be crazy to say no to Europe, even if we get the chance.

For example: the European Commission has earmarked €3.5 billion to construct new gas pipelines and electricity networks. These will link up member states and help it easier for us all to avoid possible future crises from being over-dependent on Russian gas supplies. This is combined with more work on devellping offshore wind projects and carbon-capture facilities; by working together we can get more of Europe’s energy from renewable sources.


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