Thursday, 14 May 2009

We should be at the centre of Europe

What do I think of Europe? Well these thoughts are off the top of my head but I am sure that there are lots of other things to think about. Well to start with, we are geographically part of Europe - so far so good. If we go on holiday to another country then the chances are that it will be to a country which is a member of the EU. We can help the planet by travelling to Europe rather than another continent and we also have health protection in EU countries. Many people have told me that they have fallen ill in Spain and Germany and France, the care they received was exceptional and no payment was needed. The world is getting smaller and people go on holiday all over the world, but with the recession and with the environment to think about, Europe is a popular choice.

If I had to fight a war and I had a choice then I would rather have it fought on the other side of the world. I didn't agree with the war in Iraq. I am not belligerent but war against France would be a much greater concern than war in the Middle East.

Pollution knows no national barriers and we are more aware of the effects that we have on the whole of the world and Europe in particular. So I would like to influence the environmental policies in the rest of Europe. Chernobyl happened in 1986 but there are still 369 farms that have restricted use of their land according to today's Guardian (12th May). For that matter I would like to influence the whole world but let's take one step at a time.

If I were in business and I had to change my money each time that a transaction went through, then I would find that I am not competitive in Europe because of the Euro exchange rate. It doesn't matter how strong or weak the pound is, the banker gets his cut. This applies to businesses and to holidaymakers and it works in both directions. We have to pay for going abroad and less people come to us.

I want to see an equally strong and vibrant Europe and for that matter the world. There is a good chance that the recession will hit Britain much worse than the rest of Europe because of our dependence on banking. We may find economic ties to Europe really helpful when our competitors are beating us.

If we had the same rules and regulations as the rest of Europe then illegal immigrants would not risk life and limb to get across the English Channel. I am sure the police work internationally and I would think that most government departments need links abroad. The tax man cannot reclaim the yacht in Spain if we don't have political agreements.

We should work with Europe because they are our neighbours, for trade, for defence, for the economy, for equity of opportunity, for cheaper holidays, but mainly because we are members of Europe and because we are members of the human race. A common market is what we signed up to in the 1970s but Europe has moved on and we should be at the centre of it.

Change the world

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