Working with Europe, Ambitious for Britain

Posted on 17-03-23 by Labour Movement for Europe Number of votes: 62 | Number of comments: 3

The Labour Movement for Europe is home to all in the Labour and trade union movement who support rebuilding our relationship with our closest neighbours. Whether trade, security, the environment or equality, the UK can achieve more through working with our European counterparts than through the division and isolationism of the Conservatives. In addressing the challenges of our age, cooperation and coordination are necessities as well as ideals.

The Tory Trade and Cooperation Agreement delivered the hardest of Brexits, with British businesses, consumers and workers, farmers and the environment paying the price. Whilst many of the challenges facing our economy began well before our exit from the European Union, Brexit has acted as accelerant to the economic and social decline now threatening the future of the UK.

The UK is the only G7 country whose economy is still smaller than it was pre-pandemic, with trade between the UK and the EU now a fifth lower than it would have been without Brexit. Overall, the Tories' hard Brexit has shrunk the economy by 4%, with the average household facing £870 more in costs as a consequence. The public recognise that damage that has been done - fewer than one in ten could name a specific personal benefit from Brexit, with a third of this group unable to name this benefit when asked to do so.

The lengthy negotiations required to rejoin the EU would be a significant undertaking at a time of economic hardship. It would only be possible to even begin talks with evidence of a democratic bi-partisan consensus, to avoid being stuck in a cycle of repeated referenda and arbitration. As Sir Keir Starmer has argued, it is not enough to secure a deal for Northern Ireland - the whole of the UK deserves the opportunities access to the single market, a customs union and working with Europe offers. Rebuilding our relationship with Europe to support trade and security is in our mutual interests - it also offers powerful opportunities to secure Labour's ambitions for office:

• Labour has pledged to achieve the highest sustained growth in the G7 by the end of our first term in office. The Trade and Cooperation Agreement undermines this aspiration. Alternatively, rebuilding our direct access to the European single market of 550 million people on our doorstep and a bespoke customs union could deliver much greater gains for our national prosperity.
• Labour has pledged to make Britain a clean energy superpower. Connecting our energy and technology into the European energy market could help us reach this target.
• Labour has pledged to build an NHS fit for the future. Participating in world-leading scientific partnerships, and easier movement for scientists and our medical workforce could strengthen a modern healthcare system.
• Labour has pledged to make Britain's streets safer. Better information sharing on international criminal activities and a common defence policy could enhance our law enforcement capabilities.
• Labour has pledged to break down the barriers to opportunity at every stage. Reform of our visa system could make it easier for more of our people to work, learn and travel across the continent.

The Tories have spent years breaking down Britain's reputation and relationships and building up barriers for our people and businesses. An incoming Labour administration could reverse this by being a Government of deal makers not deal breakers that is able, trusted and determined to cooperate with Europe for our national interests. Our submission sets out policies to achieve this outcome.

Please see the attached document for full Labour Movement for Europe's submission and policy proposals.

Referring to: Britain in the world

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