Jonathan Fryer

Writer, Lecturer, Broadcaster and Liberal Democrat Politician

What Future for Europe?

Posted by jonathanfryer on Sunday, 13th February, 2011

The Policy Network arranged an impressive line-up at a seminar on the Future of Europe at Bloomberg’s headquarters in the City on Friday, including Lords Mandelson and Liddle, Vince Cable, Sharon Bowles MEP and EU Commissioner Laszlo Andor. Their definition of ‘Europe’ was narrow, in the sense that the discussion was all about the European Union — and much of it about the future of the eurozone. Fears were expressed that as the eurozone expands, to take in some of the more recent EU members which have not yet satisfied the criteria for joining the single curency, Britain will be increasingly isolated and exposed. It was also stressed that there is still work to be done to implement the single market, and that further expansion of the EU, to take in predominantly young candidate states — notably Turkey — is desirable. One session of the day-long seminar examined what citizens want from the European institutions; there is not just a democratic deficit in the EU but also a lot of work to be done before European citizens really feel engagement with what the EU is for, what it does. Peter Mandelson declared that people on both sides of the Channel essentially want the same things: a secure and prosperous life, in which they enjoy the freedom of choice. But everyone was aware of how difficult it is to persuade a substantial proportion of the British public that Euro-scepticism is misguided.

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