Tag Archives: europe

ALDE Party Council preview: remarkable bird, the Norwegian Blue…

Whilst most of you will either be at your count (and good luck to you all!) or sitting in front of a television set or a computer watching the results come in, your correspondent will be in a hotel room in Oslo. Yes, it’s time once again for liberals from across Europe to gather and tell the British how sorry they are for the result/share the love and tell us things will get better/express surprise at how well we did (delete as appropriate). And despite exhaustion and uncertainty, a small, depleted and wholly male delegation will be there to fly the Liberal Democrat flag.

So, what are we there for, apart from the joy of discovering that a second mortgage is required to buy a beer?

Council will be opened with a speech from the Prime Minister of Norway… who isn’t a member of our host party, Venstre, but is leader of the Conservative Party. That said, the ruling minority coalition of the Conservatives and the Progress Party has a confidence and supply arrangement with Venstre and the Christian Democrats in the Storting to ensure its survival (and you thought that British politics was complex?).

The agenda for Council itself is unlikely to generate much excitement, although the membership application from the Liberal Party of Gibraltar is a welcome one, especially given their performance in the European Parliamentary election last year (the Liberal Democrat list – Gibraltar is part of the South West England region – gained 66% of the vote). There will also be a rationalisation of the Slovenes, as three of the five member parties there are expected to disaffiliate (they have, effectively, ceased to exist).

Posted in Europe / International and News | Also tagged and | 14 Comments

Opinion: L’Europe : le chien qui n’aboie pas*

 

* Europe: the dog that doesn’t bark

At the East Midlands Liberal Democrat conference in February Sal Brinton’s advice was not to make Europe a campaign issue. Subsequent events have proved her right.  My agent urges caution as UKIP did well in this constituency in the European elections. Ed Milliband ran it up the flagpole at the start of the short campaign by pointing out how destabilising a referendum would be for business, but but no-one saluted. Tony Blair mentioned it and had a similar non-response. On the doorsteps it’s barely figured. A handful of people have voiced strong anxiety over UKIP and been delighted when I say I’m their opposite: as many have said they are voting UKIP and slammed the door.

Even in the torrent of emails from 38degrees (and similar), the only thing even vaguely connecting to the EU has been TTIP,  where the anxieties are far from reality.

Yet  globalisation is moving quickly.  The single market was formed to increase our competitiveness on the world stage (also the primary reason for TTIP), and the associated changes to the institutions of the European Union were to ensure democratic control — directly through the European Parliament, and indirectly though national governments.

Posted in Op-eds | 19 Comments

Nick Harvey MP writes… We mustn’t let eurosceptics spoil useful defence co-operation with our EU partners

Today in London the UK’s foreign and defence secretaries, Philip Hammond and Michael Fallon, will meet their French counterparts, Laurent Fabius and Jean-Yves Le Drian. Of course, there is nothing particularly out of the ordinary about this meeting: in reality, UK and French Ministers meet frequently at various EU and NATO summits.

Posted in Europe / International and Op-eds | Also tagged , , and | 8 Comments

Opinion: Liberal Democrats are the only party which can be trusted to get the European question right – we should say so

At some point during the next 2-3 years the British people will probably be faced with the most crucial decision to confront them since the end of World War II: that of whether or not to leave the European Union. The importance of this issue far transcends that of the individual policies listed in the emerging manifestos of the three main parties. The impact of these policies will be felt for, at best, the span of a single Parliament. The impact of our decision on Europe will be felt for decades.

Posted in News | Also tagged and | 17 Comments

Tim Farron writes… Never has the political market been so crowded in the UK. Never has there been more space for a Liberal Party.

I cannot start this article without expressing my deep shock and concern for the families affected by the attack on Charlie Hebdo. It is stark warning that we can no longer take for granted the liberal order which our predecessors fought for.

It is a great honour to be appointed Foreign Affairs spokesperson and I want to thank Nick for giving me this opportunity. I am very aware that it is rare for foreign affairs to be the defining issue for most voters. But this election, as in so many other ways, is not running the usual course.

UKIP has brought …

Posted in Europe / International and Op-eds | Also tagged and | 13 Comments

LibLink: Edward McMillan-Scott: Major adds new ingredient to Europe debate

edward mcmillan-scottFormer Liberal Democrat MEP for Yorkshire and the Humber has written about John Major’s intervention on Europe last week.

But Sir John’s intervention shows how desperate David Cameron is to shore up his dwindling store of continental goodwill, to appease the 100-or-so Tory MPs who want out of Europe and are holding their tongues until after the Rochester and Strood By-election this coming Thursday.

Although the headlines have focused on Ed Miliband’s leadership crisis, both he and Mr Cameron are now on notice. And bang on cue Nigel Farage – on target to win the by-election handsomely – positions himself between them with a demand to be included in TV debates.

How often have foreign leaders heard a British Conservative say “I really need your help: my backbenchers want to see real change?” and usually they have delivered. It is not weakness on their part but a strategic calculation that Britain must be part of the process, whether it is the EU or, say, Nato.

John Major’s speech was often equivocal about Mr Cameron’s tactics towards the EU, but he introduced a new note, massively upping the ante, by saying “for the first time, there is a serious possibility that our electorate could vote to leave the EU. I put the chance of exit at just under 50 per cent”.

Posted in Europe / International and LibLink | Also tagged and | 3 Comments

European Arrest Warrant: I’m a sceptic (but not a Eurosceptic)

As I write, the House of Commons is debating the European Arrest Warrant (EAW).

Well, sort of. In fact, the Speaker, John Bercow, has already pointed out that “there will not today be a vote on the specific matter of membership of the European arrest warrant”. But Home Secretary Theresa May and Justice Secretary Chris Grayling say there will. In the Tories’ Alice in Wonderland world, when they use the word vote it means just what they choose it to mean, neither more nor less.

As with any debate involving Europe, there is a danger of it being used as …

Posted in News | Also tagged , , , , , , and | 13 Comments

Stephen Knight writes… Boris marginalises debate on Europe

boris and cameronBy making a Europe speech at Bloomberg, just like the Prime Minister did over a year ago, it was clear that the Mayor of London was sabotaging the launch of his Chief Economic Adviser’s report on our place in the EU as a (re)launch pad for his political career. What a good use of £36,400 of taxpayers’ money!

Predictably, the headlines are about Boris Johnson’s plans to return to the Commons. Once again, the debate about our role in the EU gets swept under the carpet and reduced to meaningless sound bites.

The Tories have now made ‘EU reform’ another such sound bite. Reform of what? And how? And when?

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 6 Comments

@ALDEParty Council preview – “How was it for you?”

image aldeIt seems like mere weeks since the last Council meeting of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats in Europe (ALDE), when optimism was in the air – admittedly helped by the presence of our Austrian hosts on that occasion, who were running an unashamedly pro-European campaign. Sadly, just six weeks later, delegates from across Europe gather in Brussels under rather less cheery circumstances.

The decimation of the British, German and Italian member parties in the European Parliament, plus the defection of the Romanians to the European People’s Party following merger with …

Posted in Europe / International and News | Also tagged | 24 Comments

Opinion: Lib Dems and the EU. Should we assert our Radical Localist side?

Map of the European UnionAt the beginning of the year, the European elections were looking touch and go for the Lib Dems.  Our poll ratings were on the borderline of losing our MEPs, so we took a risk.  We gambled on a strategy that, if it paid off, would win us the few percent of extra votes needed to hold most of our MEPs.  The tactic was to highlight that we are the only truly pro-Europe party, which would attract swing voters from more lukewarm parties. So we went all in with ‘The Party of In’. It was a gamble we lost.

Public opinion of the EU is mixed. People acknowledge the benefits of membership but many think the costs are too high. Polls suggest similar numbers of people want to leave the EU as want to stay in. But if the terms of membership are renegotiated, the majority of people support staying in.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 25 Comments

Before learning lessons from Ukip’s success, we first have to put that success in perspective

UKIP logoMy LDV colleague Joe Otten yesterday kicked off what we hope will be a little mini series reflecting on the success of Ukip (and other extreme right parties across Europe) in last week’s European elections.

I agree with Joe that is something we should discuss with some seriousness – and I look forward to reading your contributions in the comments and in posts on the site.

But I think before we start to “learn lessons” we have to put the vote in some context.

It is difficult to think of conditions that could …

Posted in News | Also tagged and | 80 Comments

Appeasement or Opposition?

clegg farage lbcNothing is more annoying, said one voter on the radio, than mainstream politicians telling us why we voted UKIP.

But at risk of causing further annoyance, it is important to try to understand the UKIP vote, what it represents, and to what extent it is right to respond with appeasement, like Labour’s Sadiq Khan, and many others of left and right, or opposition. To be fair to Khan, despite the apology, he largely makes the same arguments Labour have been making for years.

Uniting the issues of immigration, Europe, and …

Posted in News | Also tagged and | 39 Comments

LibLink: Lord Wallace – EU membership is essential for Britain’s national security

European FlagWriting on the European Movement UK blog, Lord (William) Wallace has some interesting thoughts on the importance of European cooperation to Britain’s strategic and security interests.

Here’s a snippet:

The 2010 National Security Strategy stood out from its predecessors by its inclusion of a number of non-military threats among the most serious it sees as facing Britain: global epidemics, organised crime and cross-border terrorism , the impact of climate change, and cyber-attack.

photo by: rockcohen
Posted in LibLink | Also tagged and | 6 Comments

Clegg: Pro-Europeans are the real reformers now

european union starsSpeaking at a Reuter’s Newsmaker event this morning Nick Clegg argued the case for reforming the EU, and for the Liberal Democrats to lead this charge.

The economic rationale for being in Europe should speak for itself, but making the case for IN isn’t easy. The Eurosceptic establishment has gone unchallenged for decades and before you even get to the real issues at the heart of this debate, you have to penetrate a wall of assumptions and myths.

Or the biggest myth of all – the idea that

photo by: notarim
Posted in News | 22 Comments

ALDE Party Council – seeing double in the city of intrigue and sachertorte

SachertorteIt is perhaps appropriate that, given the much-anticipated (at least by our enemies) fate of Liberal Democrats on 22 May, the ALDE (Alliance of Liberals and Democrats in Europe) Party Council meets in Vienna, the city where Orson Welles set ‘The Third Man’, in which Harry Lime gave the impression of being dead, only to be killed in the end anyway.

However, this month’s European Parliamentary elections represent the raison d’être of any pan-European political party, and so liberals from across the European Union are working to ensure the strongest possible representation …

photo by: Jen SFO-BCN
Posted in News | Also tagged and | 1 Comment

Edward McMillan-Scott MEP writes… 100 years on from World War I, let’s remember the EU’s role in spreading peace and democracy

Anzac day License Some rights reserved by Ian McKenzieToday is Anzac Day, when we remember those Australians and New Zealanders who fell fighting during the First World War side by side with British soldiers, and the senseless sacrifices of millions of men and women who died across Europe and the rest of the world.

This year will see the one hundredth year anniversary of the First World War and it should give us time to pause and reflect on the tragedies of the first half of the twentieth-century.

As we do …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , , , and | 31 Comments

68% Lib Dem members say Clegg right to challenge Farage to debates on Europe (but, sorry Nick, more think he performed better)

Lib Dem Voice has polled our members-only forum  to discover what Lib Dem members think of various political issues, the Coalition, and the performance of key party figures. Over 830 party members responded – thank you – and we’re publishing the full results.

Nigel farage nick clegg in out eu european union debateThe Lib Dems launch our European election campaign officially today – but it was unofficially kicked off in February when Nick Clegg laid down the gauntlet to Nigel Farage, challenging him to a debate on whether the UK should be in or out. We asked Lib Dem members what they thought of the duel – was Nick right to debate Nigel, and who you thought did best. Here’s what you told us…

Two-thirds say Nick right to challenge Nigel

Do you think it was good or a bad decision for Nick Clegg to challenge Nigel Farage to a debate on Britain’s membership of the European Union?

Posted in LDV Members poll | Also tagged | 7 Comments

Fraser Nelson is wrong: Cameron’s supposed EU re-negotiation allies are set on a very different path

european union starsLike so many Eurosceptics, Fraser Nelson was at it again this morning in the Telegraph: taking a couple of things they heard from foreign politicians and adding it all up to make something that matches exactly what they want: less Brussels.

Nelson was continuing his theme from the Spectator a couple of weeks ago, describing a Northern Alliance Cameron had been building to reform the European Union in his image. There is one problem with all that: it simply is not true.

In the UK, the Dutch are …

photo by: notarim
Posted in Europe / International and Op-eds | Also tagged , , , , , and | 8 Comments

Opinion: The East Midlands would suffer without Europe

Vince Cable speaking York Europe Jobs Some rights reserved by Liberal DemocratsIf we needed reminding how vital Europe is to British jobs in regions like the East Midlands, the bosses of car giants Hyundai and Toyota spelt it out.

As a European candidate in May’s elections I was alarmed to read that Hyundai, who have a base in Corby, warned against leaving the EU saying that if the UK were no longer in the single market it would throw up ‘barriers’ to doing business. There was a similar message from …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 5 Comments

Opinion: Let’s have real “power to the people” for those of us outside the UK

power to the peopleThere is a lot wrong or out-of-date with our current political system. The Lib Dem policy paper “Power to the People” passed at the spring conference in York, addresses those issues in a typically liberal, radical way. It is worthy of our support, as a step forward, even if some find parts of it imperfect.

“Power to the People” aims to explore the viability of overseas constituencies. This would be quite radical for the UK but would – I believe – benefit it a …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 5 Comments

As football’s January transfer window closes why not play ‘Ukip Manager’?

Here’s a snippet from Ukip’s 2010 general election manifesto:

“Ukip would place a maximum of three foreign players in the starting line-up, as this would free up places for British players in the youth academies of these teams and spur the future development of home teams.”

As Paul Haydon points out here,

That would force managers to make some pretty tough decisions about who they would keep and who they would give the boot. Where would that leave your favourite team? Who would you keep and who would you send home? Toure or Silva? Negredo or Aguero? Oscar or Hazard?

Well, …

Posted in News | Also tagged , , and | 11 Comments

Sir Ming Campbell MP writes…Britain has the power to shape the EU

A report on the successes and failures in Britain’s Europe policy, published today by British Influence shows that we have the power to shape the EU, if we wield it correctly. The report, by a cross-party panel of EU experts on which I served, shows that Britain has either achieved its objectives or is on track to achieve them in nine out of ten of the policy areas, but it makes clear that we will only be able to achieve more if we lead in a cooperative manner.

There are parts of the EU which need to be reformed. There …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 4 Comments

LibLink: Giles Goodall – The EU has made strides towards LGBT equality but discrimination and isolation remain common

Over on Pink News, Giles Goodall, Lib Dem European Parliamentary candidate for South East England, argues that the EU has played a key role in strengthening LGBT rights, and can continue to have a positive impact on the challenges that remain.

Here’s an excerpt:

On LGBT rights, voters face an important choice in May Equality is a European value, and over the years the EU has become a strong advocate for LGBT rights. We have the EU to thank for Europe-wide laws prohibiting discrimination in the workplace and providing special protection for victims of homophobic and transphobic crime. EU pressure has changed the lives of millions of LGBT people for the better in its newer member states in central and eastern Europe, where homosexuality was still a criminal offence as recently as the 1990s.

Of course that doesn’t mean that all is rosy for LGBT communities in Europe. An EU survey last year found that fear, isolation and discrimination are still all too common. Two out of three LGBT people reported hiding their sexuality when they were at school (68% in the UK), while 60% were bullied or called names. 26% of people said they had been attacked or threatened with violence in the past five years. In the UK, the figure was even higher, at 31%.

Posted in LibLink | Also tagged | 1 Comment

Opinion: Is Europe “falling behind” – or is it leading the way?

Where did George Osborne get his figures from? Who writes his speeches?

A quick look at Wikipedia offers four sources of data for GDP per capita in 2012.  The first and simplest comes from the IMF (as it omits odd places such as Monaco and Liechtenstein).

Of the top 30 no less than 14 are members of the EU, 7 are major oil producers, 3 are the great trading hubs of  Hong Kong, Singapore and Switzerland and the remaining 6 are Australia, Canada, United States, Japan, Iceland, and Israel.

At 23rd in the list the UK is …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 13 Comments

Opinion: 1914, 1973 and the lessons for an EU exit?

1973The hundredth anniversary of the start of World War One has led to historians tortuously drawing parallels with the global rivalries of today. For Britain, the useful lessons from WW1 lie in European policy – and the rather lame campaign to stay in the EU.

After decades of anti-EU vignettes in UK newspapers, often with scant basis in fact, much of the British public have become emotionally negative towards ‘Europe’. There is receptiveness to the EU being blamed for all manner of problems; from perceived ‘illegal immigration’ to bureaucratic over-regulation.

The anti-EU camp has achieved an astonishing supplementary victory – confining the debate about the negative consequences of EU exit to a few ‘economic technicalities’. Investment curtailed? A million jobs lost? Claim and counter-claim fudge public perceptions on the possible economic downsides of EU exit.

What is surprising is that the in/out debate is conducted as if we were Iceland or Liechtenstein weighing up joining EFTA or the EU. It is also conducted as if it was still 1973 (when the UK joined), there were only 6 members, and we have 14 days to cancel.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 30 Comments

2014 – the year of an election the media might miss

This year starts with media attention turning towards European elections in the Spring, and will end with the political parties cranking through the gears in anticipation of a General Election. In between, though, there are two elections that matter, one in Brussels (or, in an interesting turn of events, Athens), one in the Liberal Democrats, each of which will serve as a marker towards future events.

First, the European one. After the European elections, the European Council will vote, using qualified majority voting and bearing in mind the results of the elections, for a nominee to become the new President of …

Posted in Europe / International and News | Also tagged | 1 Comment

Opinion: Ukip’s not-so-respectable European allies

Recently, Nigel Farage rejected the overtures and offer of alliance from the French Far Right party, Front Nationale, led by Marine Le Pen, stating “Whatever Marine Le Penn is trying to do with Le Front National, anti-Semitism, is still deeply embedded in that party, and for that principle political reason, we are not going to work with them now, or at any point in the future”. The alliance also included the Dutch Freedom Party, led by blonde bombshell, Geert Wilders – famous for his anti-Islam tirades.

This attempt by Farage to place Ukip in the ‘respectable’ wing of European politics …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 19 Comments

John Pugh MP writes…Lessons from Bulgaria

There is something strange happening. This week we have seen the British Prime Minister question whether the free movement of labour is necessarily a good thing. The prospect of potentially socially disruptive Bulgarian and Rumanian immigration is concentrating his mind while all across the EU pray devoutly that the worst of tabloid fears will not come to pass.

The banking collapse in 2009 made all of us question whether the unfettered, free movement of capital was invariably a good thing. Currently the merits of the free movement of capital and labour are up for debate.

What we are seeing is the collapse …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 41 Comments

This week in Europe: 18-21 November

Lib Dem MEP welcomes EU infrastructure investment

Liberal Democrat European transport spokesman, Phil Bennion, welcomed Tuesday’s adoption of an EU infrastructure package worth EUR 33 billion between 2014 and 2020.

The ‘Connecting Europe‘ programme will help fund and facilitate projects of common interest in the areas of energy, transport and infrastructure, and the West Coast Main Line corridor is among the identified priority projects that would be eligible for EU funding.

Phil Bennion MEP said:

When it comes to energy, transport and digital infrastructure it is important to look beyond national borders to exploit potential synergies and enable an easy

Posted in Europe / International and News | Also tagged , and | Leave a comment

This week in Europe: 11-15 November – it’s all getting a bit tense out there…

Following a complaint by the UK Government to the European Commission over the imposition of strict border controls by Spain at its border with Gibraltar, the Commission have, somewhat unexpectedly, concluded that the checks did not break EU laws. It has written to both the UK and Spain with recommendations to avoid future delays at the border.

In response, Sir Graham Watson, Liberal Democrat MEP for South West England and Gibraltar, said;

“It sounds to me as if Spanish officials have succeeded in nobbling this report. As the editor of Private Eye once said, if that’s justice then I’m a banana.”
 
“I am …

Posted in Europe / International and News | Also tagged and | 15 Comments
Advert



Recent Comments

  • User AvatarSadie Smith 23rd May - 5:11pm
    We know this man was a disaster. Enough.
  • User AvatarJudy Abel 23rd May - 5:00pm
    With us losing 48 MPs, some of great experience and accomplishment, it is clear our campaign strategy was disastrous. Not only did MPs lose their...
  • User AvatarElaine Woodard 23rd May - 4:55pm
    Gordon, as always, you're talking a lot of sense. I gave several times and got so irritated with being asked for more donations for the...
  • User AvatarSimon Foster 23rd May - 4:52pm
    Great article Hannah :) If the CiU support independence through a vote and referenda we'd call them "Liberal nationalists" at A level Politics in the...
  • User AvatarAndrewR 23rd May - 3:48pm
    Clegg should ditch the centrist fallacy that people want a colourless mush. Labour supporters hate the Tories and vice versa. People who hate the Tories...
  • User AvatarFrankBooth 23rd May - 3:39pm
    I really do think the Conservative party has morphed into a truly terrifying monster far worse than the quaint grouse moor image of Alec Douglas...
Sat 23rd May 2015
Sun 24th May 2015
Mon 25th May 2015
12:05
Tue 26th May 2015
Wed 27th May 2015
Thu 28th May 2015
Fri 29th May 2015
19:30
Sat 30th May 2015
Sun 31st May 2015
Mon 1st Jun 2015
Wed 3rd Jun 2015
Thu 4th Jun 2015
Sat 6th Jun 2015
Wed 10th Jun 2015
Thu 11th Jun 2015
Fri 12th Jun 2015
Sat 13th Jun 2015
Wed 17th Jun 2015
Thu 18th Jun 2015