British governments have helped push the EU in an antidemocratic direction but we still say ‘in’

British governments have helped push the EU in an antidemocratic direction but we still say ‘in’

Date: 29 April 2016

A new briefing from campaign group Global Justice Now lays out the reasons why progressive social change is more likely to be achieved staying in the EU rather than by leaving.

Nick Dearden the director of Global Justice Now said:

“There are no ‘national’ solutions to problems like climate change, toxic trade deals or tax injustice.  Outside the EU we will be forced to compete against, and undercut, other European countries. Inside, we can work with the millions of other Europeans to change the way it works from the bottom up.

“We know the EU is captive to corporate interests, pushing toxic trade deals, forcing Greece into a horrific depression, fuelling climate change. This all needs to change. But we also know that the British government has made the EU more corporate, standing up for the interests of the City rather than ordinary people.  

“We can change this – we can create a Europe which protects the environment, which responds to the needs of ordinary people, which takes it international responsibilities seriously. But we have to stay in to achieve this.” 

While many groups and commentators have articulated the ‘stay’ position by focussing narrowly on what they see as being the economic and security benefits of EU membership, the Global Justice Now briefing instead describes a vision of tackling inequality, climate change and austerity by working with groups, social movements and progressive politicians from across the continent.

The briefing also looks at how the UK has played a destructive role in pushing the EU towards more unjust and ineffective policies on issues like tax avoidance and migration, and has been key in pushing for the controversial free trade deal between the EU and the USA that has often been cited as a reason to vote ‘leave.’

The briefing argues that the main reasons for staying are:

  • We can only change it if we’re in it. The EU is in dire need of reform and more democracy. We can only fight for this if we remain in the EU. Outside, we will become irrelevant to the growing movement for radical change.
  • It has brought us peace, better regulation and workers’ rights. Before we joined the EU, the UK was the ‘dirty man of Europe’ with few environmental regulations. Many workers had no legal right to annual holidays or lunch breaks.
  • It is the best place to fight global problems like climate change. No single country can effectively deal with problems like tax avoidance, climate change or the so-called migrant crisis. These are problems that require countries to work together. Outside the EU, the UK would more likely undercut these efforts than help.
  • It will be harder to win progressive campaigns outside the EU. From food speculation to TTIP and migrant rights, we will find it much harder to secure change outside the EU. The UK government is too often the biggest cheerleader for deregulation and big business in Europe.
  • In Europe, we are part of a bigger movement. We are part of a number of networks and alliances across Europe. On TTIP, we were a key part of the EU-wide petition that got 3.3 million signatures.

Read Nick Dearden’s articles for the Guardian, TTIP is a very bad excuse to vote for Brexit and Don’t campaign for Cameron’s Europe – fight for a fairer EU future.

Promoted by Nick Dearden on behalf of Global Justice Now, both of Global Justice Now, of 66 Offley Rd, London.