UK Prime Minister discussed IFPE in parliamen.
The Prime Minister today made a spirited defence of the Government’s position following the European Council meeting, in the face of ridiculous pantomime behaviour by Labour. I was glad to be called to ask a question, in which I brought to the Prime Minister’s attention the Initiative for a Free and Prospering Europe, launched yesterday:
Steve Baker (Wycombe) (Con): May I draw my right hon. Friend’s attention to the initiative for a free and prosperous Europe which was launched yesterday with the support of think-tanks and non-governmental organisations across the continent? In a nutshell, it asked the EU to stop centralising power, and instead to build prosperity on liberty and responsibility. There is an appetite throughout Europe for the kind of policies that my right hon. Friend’s Government are advocating. Does he share my hope that the leaders of the European nations may abandon their outdated ideology of centralisation and follow him instead?
The Prime Minister: I am grateful to my hon. Friend for his comments, and I will certainly look at the report he mentions. We in this House must understand that 17 members of the European Union have opted for a single currency—that was the big moment, when different parts of Europe chose to take a slightly different path—and even in spite of the difficulties, those member states are fully committed to trying to make it work. We have to respect the view they have taken and allow them to go on and do some of the things that can make sense of the eurozone. It is not the choice that we are making; we are making a different choice. We want a competitive Europe, we want a trading Europe, we want an open Europe, but we do not want a more centralised Europe, and not signing this treaty—not having an EU treaty—helps us down that path.
I’m a signatory to the Initiative, which originated in Eastern Europe where they remember only too well the dangers of political and economic centralisation. As I said in the Commons today, I hope Europe’s leaders abandon their outdated ideology and follow the path of our PM.