Extracts from the speech that David Cameron would have delivered today
By Peter Hoskin
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Before Downing Street decided to postpone David Cameron’s Europe speech, it had already dispersed extracts from it among journalists. Here’s a selection of those extracts for ConHome readers:
- I want Britain to stay in Europe… “I come here as British Prime Minister with a positive vision for the future of the European Union. A future in which Britain wants, and should want, to play a committed and active part.”
- …but Europe must change. “I want to speak to you today with urgency and frankness about the European Union and how it must change – both to deliver prosperity and to retain the support of its peoples.”
- Yes, it really must change. “More of the same will not secure a long-term future for the eurozone. More of the same will not see the European Union keeping pace with the new powerhouse economies. More of the same will not bring the European Union any closer to its citizens. More of the same will just produce more of the same – less competitiveness, less growth, fewer jobs. And that will make our countries weaker, not stronger.”
- The three challenges facing Europe. “There are always voices saying, ‘Don’t ask the difficult questions’. But it’s essential for Europe – and for Britain – that we do because there are three major challenges confronting us today. … First, the problems in the eurozone are driving fundamental change in Europe. Second, there is a crisis of European competitiveness, as other nations across the world soar ahead. And third, there is a gap between the EU and its citizens which has grown dramatically in recent years and which represents a lack of democratic accountability and consent that is – yes – felt particularly acutely in Britain.”
- Britain could leave if these challenges aren’t overcome. “If we don't address these challenges, the danger is that Europe will fail and the British people will drift towards the exit,”
- Although, again, I don’t want that. “I want the European Union to be a success and I want a relationship between Britain and the EU that keeps us in it.”
- And more on the democratic challenge. “There is a growing frustration that the EU is seen as something that is done to people rather than acting on their behalf, and this is being intensified by the very solutions required to resolve the economic problems … People are increasingly frustrated that decisions taken further and further away from them mean their living standards are slashed through enforced austerity or their taxes are used to bail out governments on the other side of the continent.”
“…we know that Mr Cameron was planning to reject one of the articles of faith held by the Euro elite: that member states – regardless of the wishes of their electorate – must embrace ‘ever closer union’.
We also know he intended to promise to renegotiate the terms of Britain’s membership, before asking voters to accept or reject it in a referendum.”
So far, this appears to have been met with broad approval from some more Eurosceptic Tory MPs — including from Liam Fox, who advised Mr Cameron to speak out against the concept of “ever closer union” on ConservativeHome yesterday. Although I stress those two words: so far.