We can bring change and reform to the EU — abandoning it is not the answer

We can bring change and reform to the EU — abandoning it is not the answer

Opinion piece (The Independent)
25 September 2014
We, the undersigned, take note of the decision by the Scottish people to renew their faith in our future together as a United Kingdom.

We believe that we now must work together to face the increased challenges to our security, prosperity and society – including a resurgent Russia, threats to our energy supplies, greater risks from terrorism and a still fragile economic recovery.

Another referendum, this time on Europe, could be the next big test for the nation’s future, creating further considerable uncertainty and great political risk for the UK in the coming years. We need to hold the UK together now and, as far as Europe is concerned, the best course for us to follow is for Britain to unite in its aims to bring change and reform to the EU, not abandon it.

The European reforms that major UK party leaders have urged have now been endorsed by all EU leaders in their agenda for the next five years, decided in June. Every other EU member state is determined to work with us for a more prosperous, more effective EU, not just to ensure that Britain does not leave but because this is what they recognise the EU needs.

One sure way of bringing renewed purpose to our country is for the whole UK to work with our allies to make these changes happen.

We urge the UK’s political parties to raise their game in leading, not leaving, the EU. This has to become a much stronger priority for all the mainstream political leaders if Britain is going to make the impact it seeks in Europe.

For the sake of all Europe’s citizens and our common future in a world that has become more challenging and dangerous than at any time since the end of the Cold War, we need those leaders to make and pursue the case for change in Europe with more dedication and energy than we have seen in recent years. This is the way to ensure Britain stays as a powerful member of a reformed EU.

We must now be stronger together. If not, soon we will surely be weaker apart


Ken Clarke QC MP
Co-President, British Influence

Lord Mandelson
Co- President, British Influence

Charles Kennedy MP
President, European Movement

Alan Johnson MP

Caroline Spelman MP

Lord Kerr of Kinlochard

Baroness King of Bow

Lord Hannay of Chiswick, CH, GCMG

Lord Brittan of Spennithorne
Vice Chairman, UBS Investment Bank

Sir Andrew Cahn
Chair of the International Trade and Investment Committee of the City of London

Sir Roger Carr
Chairman, BAE Systems

Guy Dawson
Director, ASA  International

Lord Jay of Ewelme

Lady Barbara Judge CBE

Lord Liddle

Sir Mike Rake
President, CBI

Sir Martin Sorrell

Bill Winters
CEO, Renshaw Bay

Rajay Naik
Director of Government and External Affairs, The Open University

Henry Tinsley
Founder of Green and Black Chocolate

Charles Grant
Director, Centre for European Reform

Petros Fassoulas
Chairman, European Movement

Alisdair McIntosh
Director, Business for New Europe

Peter Luff
Director, Mass1

Peter Wilding
Director, British Influence

Prof Maurice Fraser
Head of LSE European Institute

Frances Edmonds
D Group

Susan Hitch
Manager Lord Sainsbury of Turville’s pro bono programme

Sir Nigel Sheinwald

Sir Colin Budd

Lord Taverne

Lord Maclennan