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

Video Experts Warn World Losing Ebola Fight

Doctors Without Borders says world is losing battle against Ebola, unless wealthy nations dispatch specialized biological disaster response teams More

Video Experts: Rise of Islamic State Significant Development in Jihadism

Many analysts contend the group - which grew out of al-Qaida in Iraq - has been rebuilding for years More

US-Based Hong Kongers Pledge Support for Pro-Democracy Activists

Democracy advocates call on Chinese living abroad to join them in opposing new election rules for their home territory More

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.
Larger Than Life Chinese Lanterns Make Southern California Appearancei
X
Elizabeth Lee
September 02, 2014 8:57 PM
Chinese lanterns with a long history are lighting up in 21st century style at the Los Angeles County Fair in southern California. Visitors can see traditional lanterns that hang, but also lanterns in the shape of animals, iconic landmarks and many other objects, all created by artisans from a place in China known for its lanterns. Elizabeth Lee has the details from the fair in the city of Pomona.
Video

Video Larger Than Life Chinese Lanterns Make Southern California Appearance

Chinese lanterns with a long history are lighting up in 21st century style at the Los Angeles County Fair in southern California. Visitors can see traditional lanterns that hang, but also lanterns in the shape of animals, iconic landmarks and many other objects, all created by artisans from a place in China known for its lanterns. Elizabeth Lee has the details from the fair in the city of Pomona.
Video

Video Experts See Rise of ISIS as Significant Development

The Islamic State’s rise seems sudden. It caught the U.S. by surprise this summer when it captured large portions of northern Iraq and spread its wings in neighboring Syria. But many analysts contend that the group - which grew out of al-Qaida in Iraq - has been rebuilding for years. VOA's Jela de Franceschi takes a closer look at the rise of ISIS and its implications for the Middle East and beyond.
Video

Video Israel Concerned Over Syrian Rebels in Golan

Israeli officials are following with concern the recent fighting between Syrian rebels and government forces near the contested Golan Heights. Forty-four U.N. peacekeepers from Fiji have been seized by Syrian Islamist rebels and the clashes occasionally have spilled into Israel. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forces

A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video US Detainees Want Negotiators for Freedom in North Korea

The three U.S. detainees held in North Korea were permitted to speak with foreign media Monday. The government of Kim Jong Un restricted the topics of the questions, and the interviews in Pyongyang were limited to five minutes. Each of the men asked Washington to send a representative to Pyongyang to secure his release. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti has our story.
Video

Video Turkmen From Amerli Describe Survival of IS Siege

Over the past few weeks, hundreds of Shi'ite Turkmen have fled the town of Amerli seeking refuge in the northern city of Kirkuk. Despite recent military gains after U.S. airstrikes that were coordinated with Iraqi and Kurdish forces, the situation remains dire for Amerli’s residents. Sebastian Meyer went to Kirkuk for VOA to speak to those who managed to escape.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered at the Union League Club in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.

AppleAndroid