The Foreign Secretary gave a speech yesterday setting out his vision for the future of Europe. Let me just highlight three points which I think are particularly relevant here in Romania.
Firstly, William Hague highlights the power of EU enlargement in entrenching democracy and the rule of law in Europe after the Cold War. And he sees that mission continuing in the future. As he puts it “Moldova, Belarus and Ukraine are European nations. Their future lies with Europe. It is up to us to promote democracy and encourage them to embrace freedom fully.”
Secondly, he repeats the UK’s strong support for the Single Market and its Four Freedoms. This has shaped Britain today, and is a major source of Europe’s prosperity. We need to consolidate it and go further, especially in the digital economy, in services and energy.
Thirdly, he makes clear that Europe’s strength lies in its diversity. The EU’s 27 countries are not the same. Each brings different strengths to the collective effort. For example, both the UK and Romania are major contributors to EU security and defence operations. We have different but complementary links to countries and trading partners outside of the EU. Together these networks can benefit the EU as a whole. And there are different views as to how far integration should go. If we respect those differences, and build a Europe that is inclusive, diverse and in touch with the real concerns and desires of its citizens we can preserve and build on the legacy of the EU’s founders sixty years ago.
I’d be interested in your views. Please post your comments.