Kent Green Party has reacted to David Cameron's proposal for a referendum on Britain's European Union Membership in 2017. Steve Dawe responds:
"As the Green Party's worker at the No Campaign, against the Euro, during
2003, I was clear that the Euro had the potential to damage European
cooperation. And so it has proved. However, Mr Cameron's creation of
uncertainty by promising a referendum in 2017 can only serve to reduce
foreign and domestic investment in Kent and the rest of the UK(1). Even
more seriously, the powers Mr Cameron wants returned to the UK include our
very limited areas of environmental and social protection. Returning powers
over the environment would make it easier for the Coalition to implement
planning reforms which would allow more destruction of natural habitats by
development. Given the exceptional variety of habitats in Kent and Medway,
it is not surprising that people in every part of our County have
campaigned repeatedly to protect our land against road building,
warehousing, loss of open space and against hydraulic fracking.
"Kent and Medway also need to play a part in increasing UK forests and
productive agricultural land, as part of building a sustainable economy(2).
You cannot do this if, by leaving the EU, you abolish Habitat protection
and hand land over to those who would destroy it in the name of development.
"Of course the EU needs reforms, but as Green Party Leader Natalie Bennett
has indicated, our best interests lie in remaining within a reformed EU,
not pretending we will be better off outside it(3)."
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FURTHER INFORMATION: Steve Dawe, Press Officer, KENT GREEN PARTY, on 01732
355185 or 07747 036192. Contact address as above. Promoted by H.Dawe for
Kent Green Party, both at 27 Audley Avenue, Tonbridge, Kent TN9 1XF. KENT
GREEN NEWS, free ezine, is available by subscription at www.kentgreenparty.org
1. Substantial reductions in foreign students entering the UK as a
result of the Coalition's policies are already reducing income to the UK
2. UK forest expansion is useful not only for the value of productive,
managed forests which can be created, but as a contribution to the tourism
industry in our county.
3. Natalie Bennett said: "Green Party leader Natalie Bennett said
today that the Green Party stood for "Three Yeses - yes to a referendum,
yes to major EU reform and yes to staying in a reformed Europe". Natalie
urged people to consider the first "Yes" in a different context to David
Cameron's promise of a referendum - only if the Conservatives win a
majority in the 2015 election - which has more to do with political
game-playing and trying to hold together a deeply divided party that is
failing in government. The Green leader said: "The Green Party believes in
democracy and self-determination. On important issues like this, voters
should be given the opportunity to express a clear view." On a reformed EU,
the Green Party believes that decisions should be made at the lowest
possible appropriate level, closest to the lives of the people it affects.
It supports democratic decision-making - not the imposition of dictats from
above, such as the austerity that has been forced on the people of many
states in south Europe. Natalie added: "'Yes to the EU' does not mean we
are content with the union continuing to operate as it has in the past.
There is a huge democratic deficit in its functioning, a serious bias
towards the interests of neoliberalism and 'the market', and central
institutions have been overbuilt. But to achieve those reforms we need to
work with fellow EU members, not try to dictate high handedly to them, as
David Cameron has done." On 'yes to staying in a reformed Europe', the
Green Party believes Great Britain should not abandon the European Union,
but instead work from inside to make it into a fair and democratic union
rather than just a vehicle for international trade. The European Union is
well placed to enact policies on crucial issues such as human and workers'
rights, climate change and international crime. It is through EU regulation
that our renewable energy targets have been set and hundreds of thousands
of jobs have been created.
European action on air pollution, meanwhile, is forcing the British
government to take the issue seriously, and the EU is leading the way on a
financial transactions tax while Britain, in the grip of the City, resists.
Natalie concluded: "We need to continue to work with our European partners
to build strong, locally democratic communities that decide their own way
within the framework of minimum standards on workers' and consumer rights,
the environment, and on human rights - and which work together to build a
more peaceful and sustainable world."
Caroline Lucas MP has also responded: Caroline in response to the PM's
speech on Europe today - it might be useful if you're planning local
comment on this issue. Link: