News / Europe

    British Political Rivals Unite Against EU Exit

    The EU and British flags fly outside the European Commission Representation in central London, Jan. 23, 2013.
    The EU and British flags fly outside the European Commission Representation in central London, Jan. 23, 2013.
    Reuters
    Political rivals joined forces on Wednesday to launch a campaign to keep Britain inside the European Union, aiming to turn back a rising tide of animosity towards Brussels that threatens to end its 40-year membership of the bloc.
     
    Politicians of different stripes decided to pool their efforts after Prime Minister David Cameron last week promised to renegotiate Britain's EU membership terms and give voters a chance to say whether they want to leave.
     
    The Center for British Influence Through Europe (CBIE), a cross-party group that lobbies to keep Britain inside the EU, said it hoped to convince voters that its stance was the "common sense" option on Europe.
     
    And two of Cameron's senior ministers urged a "political fight back" against calls for Britain to take back powers from its biggest trading partner or leave altogether.
     
    Ken Clarke, a Conservative cabinet minister, and Treasury Minister Danny Alexander, of the pro-EU Liberal Democrats, the junior coalition party, were at the launch with Peter Mandelson, a former Labor minister and ex-EU trade commissioner.
     
    Clarke, a Conservative veteran who has served as finance minister and still sits in cabinet as a minister without portfolio, said it would be a "fatal mistake" for Britain to leave.
     
    "That this is not more deeply understood in this country is perhaps because the case has not been made properly for British membership of the EU for many years," he said. "The time has now come for us to put the case more strongly and more coherently."
     
    Britain's long debate pits pro-EU forces that see Europe as a crucial trade partner and source of stability after World War II against Eurosceptic angry with what they see as a meddling and wasteful Brussels bureaucracy that threatens U.K. sovereignty.
     
    Cameron said last week that his party would campaign for the 2015 parliamentary election on a pledge to renegotiate the terms of Britain's EU membership. He said an "in or out" referendum on the country's membership of the bloc would then be held by the end of 2017 - if he wins a second term.
     
    While both sides have begun making their case on Europe, a referendum is still far from certain to take place. Cameron must come from behind in opinion polls to win the election, decide which powers he wants to reclaim and overcome European opposition to negotiate their return.
     
    Alexander, number two to Finance Minister George Osborne at the Treasury, said it was "nonsensical" to suggest Britain should opt out of the bulk of its EU obligations. Mandelson said the anti-EU side had "got away with murder in the lies and false propaganda they have poured out".
     
    The CBIE stresses the importance of closer ties with Berlin, Brussels and Paris to give Britain a louder voice in the world and to help its trading position.
     
    Its campaign was launched at Europe House, an office building which is the London base of the European Commission as well as the UK Independence Party, the anti-EU group which is siphoning off voters from Cameron's Conservatives.
     
    A stone's throw from parliament, the building was for years the Conservative headquarters and the stronghold of Margaret Thatcher - a Conservative prime minister brought down by party in-fighting over Europe.

    You May Like

    Syrian Torture Victim Recounts Horrors

    'You make them think you have surrendered' says Jalal Nofal, a doctor who was jailed and survived repeated interrogations in Syria

    Mandela’s Millions Paid to Heirs, But Who Gets His Country Home?

    Saga around $3 million estate of country's first democratic president is far from over as Winnie Mandela’s fight for home overshadows payouts

    Guess Which Beach is 'Best in the US'?

    Hawaii’s Hanauma Bay tops an annual "top 10" list compiled by a coastal scientist, also known as Doctor Beach

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trendi
    X
    May 27, 2016 5:57 AM
    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Drawings by Children in Hiroshima Show Hope and Peace

    On Friday, President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, the first American president to do so while in office. In August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city to force Japan's surrender in World War II. Although their city lay in ruins, some Hiroshima schoolchildren drew pictures of hope and peace. The former students and their drawings are now part of a documentary called “Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard.” VOA's Deborah Block has the story.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese Rapper Performs for Obama

    A prominent young Vietnamese artist told President Obama said she faced roadblocks as a woman rapper, and asked the president about government support for the arts. He asked her to rap, and he even offered to provide a base beat for her. Watch what happened.
    Video

    Video Roots Run Deep for Tunisia's Dwindling Jewish Community

    This week, hundreds of Jewish pilgrims are defying terrorist threats to celebrate an ancient religious festival on the Tunisian island of Djerba. The festivities cast a spotlight on North Africa's once-vibrant Jewish population that has all but died out in recent decades. Despite rising threats of militant Islam and the country's battered economy, one of the Arab world's last Jewish communities is staying put and nurturing a new generation. VOA’s Lisa Bryant reports.
    Video

    Video Meet Your New Co-Worker: The Robot

    Increasing numbers of robots are joining the workforce, as companies scale back and more processes become automated. The latest robots are flexible and collaborative, built to work alongside humans as opposed to replacing them. VOA’s Tina Trinh looks at the next generation of automated employees helping out their human colleagues.
    Video

    Video Wheelchair Technology in Tune With Times

    Technologies for the disabled, including wheelchair technology, are advancing just as quickly as everything else in the digital age. Two new advances in wheelchairs offer improved control and a more comfortable fit. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Baby Boxes Offer Safe Haven for Unwanted Children

    No one knows exactly how many babies are abandoned worldwide each year. The statistic is a difficult one to determine because it is illegal in most places. Therefore unwanted babies are often hidden and left to die. But as Erika Celeste reports from Woodburn, Indiana, a new program hopes to make surrendering infants safer for everyone.
    Video

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Communities in the U.S. often hold festivals to show what makes them special. In California, for example, farmers near Fresno celebrate their figs and those around Gilmore showcase their garlic. Mike O'Sullivan reports that the wine-producing region of Temecula offers local vintages in an annual festival where rides on hot-air balloons add to the excitement.
    Video

    Video US Elementary School Offers Living Science Lessons

    Zero is not a good score on a test at school. But Discovery Elementary is proud of its “net zero” rating. Net zero describes a building in which the amount of energy provided by on-site renewable sources equals the amount of energy the building uses. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, the innovative features in the building turn the school into a teaching tool, where kids can't help but learn about science and sustainability. Faith Lapidus narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora