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A Handy Checklist: What The Tories Want In Europe

On Wednesday this week the Conservative Party’s manifesto promise of an In/Out referendum on membership of the EU became Government policy following its formal announcement in the Queen’s Speech. To date opponents of the plan have alleged that the policy is only half-formed as there is no ‘wishlist’ for renegotiation of membership. Today, however, Business for Britain (BfB) published a list of changes which the Prime Minister and other senior Tories have previously demanded.

The list is supported by a “compendium of quotes” collated by BrB in order to verify each policy statement. A supporting video has also been produced.

Being able to check the Prime Minister’s progress against the list of robust reforms provided by BfB will provide a quantifiable measure of the success or failure of his EU talks. Matthew Elliott, Chief Executive of Business for Britain said:

“The idea that there is no plan for an EU renegotiation is patently absurd. The PM and his Government colleagues have been consistent in calling for a robust new deal with the EU which involves bringing powers back from Brussels and securing “proper, full on” Treaty change.”

10 key changes which senior Tories have flagged up have also been proposed by BrB, namely:

  1. An end to ‘ever closer union’
  2. Cut EU red tape for SMEs and start-ups
  3. Return control over social and employment laws
  4. Protect the City and financial services
  5. Protect the UK from Eurozone meddling
  6. Fast-track international trade deals
  7. Cut the EU budget to save taxpayers’ money
  8. Apply UK transparency laws to the EU
  9. Give member states control over migration
  10. Restore Britain’s right to veto EU laws

Other changes BrB notes members of the Government have called for include:

  • Abolish the Common Agricultural Policy
  • Abolish the European Parliament’s second seat in Strasbourg
  • Cut the number of EU institutions
  • Complete the Single Market
  • Reduce EU control over justice and home affairs
  • Withdraw from the Common Fisheries Policy
  • Withdraw from the European Convention on Human Rights

BfB says the reforms it has identified “will be of significant benefit to both British business and the wider competitiveness of the EU” and urges that “with a fresh electoral mandate for the Conservatives, it is vital that these detailed plans to renegotiate Britain’s relationship with the EU are delivered.”

Acknowledging the fact that the Government’s checklist will take time to realise, Elliott counsels caution for those who want to hold the referendum as soon as possible, saying:

“While some will now want to fast-forward to the referendum itself, it is vital that the proper time be given to the renegotiation process to ensure it delivers the changes we need and business wants.”

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