David Cameron’s approach to Europe is putting his narrow party interest before national interest, putting at risk growth at home and British influence abroad. He seems to be spending more time negotiating with his backbenchers than negotiating with European partners to deliver real reform. David Cameron’s decision to isolate himself from the rest of the EU means he has no influence in Europe at all. No wonder the business community is worried. The Tories are drifting towards exit, without a thought for what that means for jobs and growth.
Labour believes Britain’s interests are best served by remaining at the heart of a reformed EU, not by leaving the EU. We will make the hard-headed, patriotic case, based on national interest, both for Britain in Europe, and for change in Europe. We want to see change in Europe to make it work better for Britain, and this week we have set out the reforms we will fight for if we win in 2015.
Labour’s reforms will deliver a Europe focused on jobs and growth. On immigration, we will fight for the free, but fair movement of people, with EU migrants expected to contribute to our economy. Under Labour Child benefit would only go to those who live here and residency requirements would be extended for migrants seeking Job Seekers Allowance.
And we would put a stop to EU migration leading to a race to the bottom between EU workers and local workers because the minimum wage isn’t properly enforced and rules on agency workers are full of loopholes. EU rules can stop this and a Labour Government will fight to ensure they do.
But this week we’ve also drawn our line in the sand about giving more powers to Europe. The next Labour Government will legislate for a ‘lock’ that guarantees there cannot be a transfer of powers between Britain and the EU without an in/out referendum.
Labour won’t let party politics get in the way of a better future for Britain- our priority is to tackle the cost of living crisis, save the NHS and get the economy back on track.