January 15, 2014
Our ground-breaking EU reform conference is now imminent and, as widely trailed in today’s media, UK Chancellor George Osborne will be giving the opening keynote speech.
You can join the conversation throughout the day on twitter, using the #EUreform hash tag, or follow @openeurope. Uniquely for this type of a conference, all sessions will be on the record. We call it “Open Europe rules” (as opposed to the more secretive Chatham House rules).
In a letter to today’s Guardian, six leading MPs from across Europe, all attending the conference, argue:
Too often, the debate about “Europe” is based on emotional and ideological arguments, with all sides – from those who want more EU integration and those who want less – trading in hyperbole rather than engaging with substantive issues of policy. Of course we need to co-operate across borders in Europe. The question, as ever, is how. How do we square the need for cross-border action with democratic accountability? How do we live up to the promise to make decisions as close as possible to citizens? How do we make Europe really work for growth and jobs at a time when global competition is stiffening?
Today, we are joining hundreds of parliamentarians and opinion-formers from across Europe at a unique conference in London organised by the thinktank Open Europe and the Fresh Start Project, dedicated to one question: how can we achieve EU reform? While our proposed solutions may differ, we agree on one thing: the status quo in Europe is not an option. If the EU is to thrive, it needs to embrace a series of bold reforms. Some of these will involve EU action, but where democratic and economic factors so dictate, this may also mean “less Europe”. We want to replace the emotional point-scoring with a policy-based discussion about how to achieve a Europe that works better for both democracy and growth.
Gustav Blix Swedish MP (Moderate party); ranking member, committee on European Union affairs (Sweden)
Klaus Peter Willsch German MP (CDU); member, committee for economy and energy,
Germany; Deputy head of the committee on education, research and technology (Germany)
Angieszka Pomaska Polish MP (Civic Platform); Chair of the EU affairs committee in the Polish parliament (Poland)
Eva Kjer Hansen Chair of the European affairs committee (Liberal party), Danish parliament (Denmark) Andrea Leadsom MP for South Northamptonshire (Con); co-founder, Fresh Start Project; member of No 10 policy board (UK)
Dr Reinhold Lopatka Spokesperson for foreign and European affairs, Austrian People’s party (OeVP); former secretary of state for European and international affairs (Austria)