At this week’s meeting of the Labour Party’s National Executive Committee the Labour Movement for Europe’s application for affiliation to the party as a socialist society was formally accepted. It comes at a crucial time for the debate in Britain on ourmembership of the European Union, the direction and leadership of the EU institutions and the political fortunes of the left across Europe. We hope that this affiliation can serve as a productive and practical contribution to these three challenges.
Firstly the Labour Movement for Europe hopes to make a positive contribution to the debate which surrounds Britain’s membership of the European Union. We hope to make the case for a Britain that is active and reforming in its membership of the European Union; active in standing up for Britain within the largest trading bloc in the world, active in calling for a growth agenda at a time of sluggish and anaemic growth and active in making the case for Britain to play a full role on the world stage by working with our closest allies on issues from international crime, security, defence, aid,climatechange and energy security. An isolated Britain would be a weaker Britain and ourmembership of the European Union makes Britain and Europe stronger.
Secondly we hope to play a positive role on the direction and leadership of the EU institutions. The Labour Movement for Europe will continue to support reform of the EU and its institutions and in line with Labour values. By campaigning for reform and a political vision for Europe, we dodge the trap that many fall in to when they talk of Europe and “Brussels”- the trap of a being a Euro sceptic or a Europhile. The realities of the modern world, of global power and global decision making, have made this trap one we need to avoid. We need neither to be blindly sceptical, nor blindly supportive. Our national interest and international outlook demand that we deliver for Britain in Europe and continue to use British leverage to make the EU institutions work more effectively and efficiently. You wouldn’t be blindly supportive or blindly hostile to the workings of Westminster, Whitehall or the Town Hall, the trick is to use these institutions to deliver on the issues that matter and the same should true of our approach to Europe.
Thirdly the LME hopes to offer a positive contribution to the fortunes of our sister parties which have fared so badly in the period since the financial crash. The Labour Movement for Europe has a very proud and positive relationship with UK branches of Labour’s sister parties which ties us not only to communities of European citizens living in the UK but also to our sister parties across Europe. Thisgets us to the heart of the struggle social democrats are having in reasserting ourselves in the post crisis era. With a recent scraped victoryin Denmark, a challenge ahead of us in France and in Germany, the future is starting to look a little brighter butwe will need to learnthe path to success together and articulate somecommonarguments fora socially just and economically sound response to the crisis.
Finally, a word of thanks for the NEC members and officers who have helped the LME along the way, in particular the socialist societies representative, Conor McGinn, who gave invaluable advice, support and guidance to secure our affiliation. We hope to repay that support and hope that you will join the Labour Movement for Europe as we campaign for a Labour vision for Europe in the great spirit of internationalism that characterises the best of Britain and the Labour movement.
Brian Duggan- Labour Movement for Europe National Executive Committee