Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Finding Fresh Start friends

I have spent the past 48 hours in Warsaw with 3 MPs representing the Fresh Start Project: Therese Coffey, Tim Loughton and Guto Bebb.

If we are to reform our relationship with the EU, we need to be specific about what we want. I have been helping Fresh Start to look at different options of reform in different sectors of policy making, from fishing to farming to financial services and from immigration to energy and the environment.
We are also going to need to find like-minded politicians across Europe who are sympathetic to our vision of rolling back decision-making to national or local governments where appropriate, and encouraging a Free Market ethos for the Single Market. This means reducing barriers to trade, putting competitiveness first and saving taxpayers' money.

Poland is one of the five larger countries in the EU, by population, and the only other one of the "big five" outside the eurozone. It is important for the UK that we have allies outside the eurozone who will help us enshrine the differences between eurozone and non-eurozone countries in the negotiations ahead. It was particularly good to meet one of the senior politicians from Poland who had negotiated the Lisbon Treaty, Anna Fotyga. She explained that she thinks too much power is being given to Brussels institutions in economic decision-making and was very supportive for the need for reform.

Delegations from Fresh Start have already been to Berlin and are moving onwards to Prague, Madrid and Copenhagen.

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