La Treizième Étoile: 09/01/11 - 16/01/11 Blog Archives
News from the European Union with a focus on the South West UK and Gibraltar region and its MEPs
My tweets (@SWUKinEU)
Why it's in the UK's national interest to remain in the EU (by David Lidington, Conservative Minister for Europe)

Saturday, 15 January 2011
Prime Minister David Cameron (R) speaks with local Conservative MP and Minister for Europe David Lidington (L) as he promotes British pub week at The Bernard Arms on November 6, 2010 in Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire. (Photo: Getty/Daylife)Against the backdrop of the EU Bill that promises a “referendum lock” on future EU-related pieces of legislation, it has gone some way to restoring my faith in this coalition government’s attitude towards Europe.

Responding to a written question tabled by fellow Tory MP Bernard Jenkin, the Conservative MP currently serving as the Government’s Europe Minister, David Lidington (far left in photo), has outlined why staying in the EU, not withdrawing, is in the UK’s national interest.

Here is his reply, in full, as recorded on Hansard on Monday 10th January:

"There are many things about the EU we would like to change. However, membership of the EU gives UK business full access to the world's most important trading zone, comprising 500 million consumers without the barriers of customs or tariffs. This is of great importance to the prosperity.

10% (3.5 million) of UK jobs are reliant on exports to EU member states, the beneficial effect of EU trade on UK households is estimated at between £1,100 and £3,300 per year, UK exports to member states are worth more than £200 billion, and EU Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) comprises 49% of overall FDI to the UK.

Under the present terms of membership the UK plays a strong and active role in influencing and shaping developments within the EU, allowing us to further goals essential to the national interest, such as strengthening and expanding the single market, delivering growth, and promoting a resource efficient, low carbon EU economy.

The European Economic Area (EEA) and European Free Trade Association (EFTA) members, in contrast, have to contribute to the EU budget without being able to negotiate the detail and content of EU legislation, and without receiving benefits such as the exemption from customs requirements and costs.

In addition, EU membership gives the UK better leverage and negotiating power on the global stage, allowing us to better achieve our international objectives on issues such as freer international trade, conflict prevention, stabilisation, climate change, human rights and development.

There are also wide-ranging benefits for UK individuals, such as the right to study and work within the EU, and to receive free or reduced cost health care on temporary visits within EU member states.
" (My emphasis)

Thank you Mr Lidington.

‘Grow a beard for Belgium’? Urm, no thanks!

Thursday, 13 January 2011
One of Belgium's most recognised big-screen actors, Benoît Poelvoorde, has issued a rather strange call to arms to his fellow patriots and urged them not to shave until the country finally forms a new government...

Click here to continue reading...

As Hungary assumes EU Presidency, another Commissioner begins tweeting

Monday, 10 January 2011
On 1st January, Hungary took over the rotating presidency of the European Union from Belgium, and to mark the occasion the current Hungarian member of the European Commission made his first venture onto Twitter.

László Andor, the Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion, has begun tweeting at @LaszloAndorEU although clearly states that "this account is being run by my private office and press team".

His first tweet welcomed the start of the Hungarian presidency and said "We’ll be following Roma affairs, demography and more…busy months ahead" before posting a congratulatory message welcoming Estonia to the Eurozone.

Mr Andor is not the first Commissioner to use the social media site, find out who else is tweeting here.

Last election:

Click here to see which six MEPs were elected.