Laura Sandys is the Member of Parliament for Thanet South. Follow Laura on Twitter.
The Europe Question for the UK could not have come at a better or a worse time. Better because we are forced by the global economic situation to look at our role in Europe dispassionately, but worse because the rational would resist navel-gazing and use this crisis to get on with reforming Europe from within.
Europe needs to confront some very big challenges. It faces some fundamental choices of whether to batten down the hatches and look inwards, or embrace freer, more flexible markets – a more internationalist rather than institutionalist response to our common economic difficulties.
Surprisingly for those who don’t believe we have influence, the UK’s plan for growth across Europe has gained a lot more traction over the last year, not least with Germany. The Prime Minister’s policy of greater flexibility across Europe with a deepening of the single market is not just hot air. 18 European member states have now signed up to his manifesto for reform.