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Home News Taxing times for the coalition over Europe

Taxing times for the coalition over Europe

14 December 2011
Taxing times for the coalition over Europe

Three senior Policy Network figures have co-signed a letter in today's Guardian labelling the coalition's current course on Europe as a toxic political mix, but one that could provide opportunities for the centre-left.

The letter contained 11 signatures in total including Roger Liddle, Olaf Cramme and Patrick Diamond from Policy Network, Neal Lawson of Compass and Paul Hackett of the Smith Institute.

Compass and Policy Network will together be hosting an event next year asking 'After the veto: what future for Britain in Europe?'. See our event page for more information.

Read the full content of the letter below.

"The Tories have left Britain in the wilderness when it comes to Europe (Recriminations mount over EU summit veto, 13 December). It is a moment of great danger. Isolation and austerity are a toxic political mix that could provide opportunities for the hard right. But there are opportunities for the centre-left, if we take them. The agreement forged by the EU 26 locks them into a fiscal orthodoxy which could greatly damage the European economy and with it Britain. But with possible election victories for the centre-left in the French presidential elections next year and the likelihood of a red/green alliance in Germany in 2013, the picture could start to change very quickly.

Everyone who cares about Britain's future at the heart of Europe needs to do two things. First, we must be committed to be part of the European debate, no matter how difficult that currently feels. We have to be part of the process to push for a more social, democratic and interventionist Europe. We cannot opt out of Europe – we are Europe.

Second, while we recognise the important role of the City in the British economy, we must not go on behaving as if the 2008 crash never happened. The City needs to be effectively regulated not just for the rest of the economy and society but to save it from itself. In September, Ed Miliband committed Labour to supporting a financial transaction tax introduced at a European level if there was no global agreement at first – matching the Liberal Democrat manifesto commitment to it. This was the right thing to do economically and politically. Europe must take the lead in ensuring that damaging speculation is curtailed and therefore a better balance struck between the manufacturing sector across Britain and the interests of a few in the City of London.

All who share the vision of a more equal, democratic, dynamic and sustainable Europe should work together to ensure Britain plays its full part with its neighbours in creating that vision and does not retreat to the sceptical margins.

Neal Lawson Chair, Compass, Roger Liddle Chair, Policy Network, David Hall-Matthews Chair, Social Liberal Forum, Paul Hackett Director, Smith Institute, Professor Stephen Haseler Director, Global Policy Institute, Simon Hebditch Social Liberal Forum, Olaf Cramme Policy Network, Patrick Diamond Policy Network, Professor David Marquand Mansfield College, Oxford, Professor George Irvin Soas, University of London, Professor Richard Grayson"

Image: Guardian.co.uk 2011

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