Observer -Europe – 11 December 2011

Observer –Europe – 11 December 2011



When Hugh Gaitskell sat down after making his “end of a thousand years of history” speech against joining Europe at the Labour Conference of 1962, he turned to his wife and said “Look how many are clapping, dear!” She replied “Yes dear. But it’s the wrong people who are clapping”.


This week-end, it’s the Euro-sceptics who are clapping. Many British newspapers are clapping Mr Cameron for “standing up for Britain” – at last. French ones are clapping M. Sarkozy for sticking it up “Albion perfide” – at last. Those who see Britain as Norway without the oil or Switzerland with nuclear weapons are clapping. But those of us who believe our island’s greatness has been about taking the risks of engagement rather than the false security of isolation, feel bereft, sad and depressed.


It’s important to understand how we got here.


It wasn’t because Mr Cameron’s demands were immodest – in fact they had been negotiated down within the coalition to very little indeed (and preceded by dozens of European phone calls from Nick Clegg to smooth the way). No demands for repatriation; almost nothing which was unique for Britain except the right to have stronger regulation for the City. Mr Cameron’s “asks” were rejected, not because they were too great – but because it was he who made them. No other British Prime Minister of recent years would have had difficulty getting this package through. This was Gallic pay back time for all that unwise Cameron lecturing – and sometimes worse – from the side-lines these last months. I suspect that if he had asked for a cup of tea, M. Sarkozy would not have lost the opportunity to refuse it. Not a statesmanlike reaction from M. Sarkozy to be sure; but a human one nevertheless. But beneath the tragedy of last Wednesday night, lies a deeper and more disturbing fact than M. Sarkozy’s personal pique. Long years of anti-European prejudice from the Tory Euro-sceptics, laced with downright insults from their supporting press, has now generated a growing anti-British prejudice in many European capitals, not just Paris.


Some say, to paraphrase Lewis Carrol’s Lobster Quadrille, never mind; “the further we from Paris be, the closer are to Washington”. Not so. Washington was there last Thursday; in the margins; willing Europe to come together. They are now going to be much more interested in those inside, than the one nation who is out.


So what happens next?


Perhaps it will all fail, we comfort ourselves – just as we did when the whole European process began back in 1957.


It may indeed not work. The views of the Euro-zone’s democracies still have to be dealt with. And the markets still have to be reassured through some process of mutualising debt. But the Germans were never going to stump up for that, until they had proper financial controls. And that happened on Thursday morning.


But, here’s the rub. If the Franco-German plan doesn’t work, things will not be better for Britain they will be much, much worse as our main trading zone collapses. Yet we have rejected being in, helping to prevent collapse, in favour of being out, hoping for the best.


Even if our European colleagues cannot make this work at the level of seventeen, they will make it work at a core level and then build back later. The difference between Britain as an “out” and all the other “outs” is that, over time they went to get in – we want to get even further out. How does that increase our leverage?


There are domestic consequences, too. The Euro-sceptics are now in control of the referendum agenda. And Mr Cameron has given them a much more powerful argument; if being in results in such isolation, then why not be out?


Mr Salmond, too has been given an uncovenanted gift. If England is to be out of Europe, why should Scotland not be in?


Will the Coalition survive? It must and we must find ways to make it so. But the Coalition is as disliked amongst the Euro-sceptics, as Brussels. Having won one victory over a hated enemy, why not a second? Those who worry that it’s now the eighty-one Euro-sceptics who run the Prime Minster, not the other way round are right to wonder; if he has given them this, what will he resist?


And so we have used the veto – but stopped nothing. In the name of “protecting the City”, we have made it more vulnerable. At a time of economic crisis, it is now more attractive for investors to go to northern Europe than to isolated Britain. We have tipped 40 years of British foreign policy down the drain in a single night. We have handed the referendum agenda over to the Euro-sceptics. We have strengthened the arguments of those who would break the Union. We have isolated ourselves from Europe and diminished ourselves in Washington.


Not bad, for a policy aimed at “standing up for Britain”!









Europe 29 October 2011

In short I think there is now a real chance that within the next decade – possibly less – England (possibly with Wales) will find herself totally isolated. The “Little Englanders” will finally get their little England.


Let me explain why;


I fear that the dynamic towards separation in Scotland is growing and it is now very possible – even probable – that if Mr Salmond can hold a referendum at a time of his own choosing, he will win it.


As a small nation there will then be many reasons why Scotland might wish to take the option Britain has refused and join Ireland as a fully integrated member of a Europe Union dominated by the 17 ,which they will too seek to join if they can.


As for Europe, even if Mr Cameron makes his bid for repatriation he will simply be refused by the others. Even if “the17” then let some crumbs slip from their table, these will now be far less than is necessary to satisfy the newly invigorated ravenous beast of European scepticism which has been given a huge boost by all this. At the same time Cameron’s claims to exercise influence from the side-lines will be exposed as hollow with every European summit, when his dining partners will again be the few more than the Swedes and the Poles. He will return from every one either empty handed or with too little to satisfy his increasingly mad Eurosceptics. Meanwhile, it will be only natural that the 17, working together will affect changes which advantage them and disadvantage us – not least those affecting the City of London.


The dynamic then towards grumpy separation, fed on anger in Britain, will be unstoppable.


Of course there will be differences within the 17, too. Big ones. But these will be sorted out (or not) within the 17. I Just don’t see how, from the outside we in Britain are going to be relevant to any of these disputes, turned to by anyone as a force who can help, or involved in any way. If you are arguing within the 17 against say dirigiste France, you would seek your support from Germany inside the group, rather than us outside it. Why? Because being outside it we have close to zero influence about what goes on inside it.


Then we will indeed become at one with Norway and Switzerland. I have greater ambitions for my country than that – and these are now being snatched away from us.


I fear the two winners from all this are the Scottish Nationalists and UKIP.


Europe – The Times 25 October 2010

Europe The Times 25 October 2100

There is now a real possibility that the European Union will break apart.


There are many in Parliament who would cheer this and I suspect even more in the country beyond who would join in with enthusiasm. Nor would they be alone. It is not only in Britain that the public mood against the EU runs so strongly. The Dutch seem to agree and even the people of Germany, given the chance, might vote the same way.


The odds against the Euro surviving in its present form are mounting with every new dither from its leaders. Some fundamental re-arrangement of the economic pieces of what started as an economic union, now looks more and more inevitable. Even if this leads to some — led by Germany — moving to form a stronger center, we cannot get there without others — led by Britain perhaps — having the opportunity to chose something looser, or perhaps even leaving altogether.


The single greatest political idea of our time, European integration, now looks in serious trouble. The dynamic of Europe is set to change from centripetal, to centrifugal.


And God help us all if it does.


The reasons for European integration are not weaker today than they were when this all started; they are stronger. The EU’s founding fathers saw European integration as a means to avoid repeating our past and as the right response to the post-war turmoil of the past. We should we see it as the best means to assure our future and the right response to the global turmoil of the future.


I know this view has little or no popular support and is espoused by few if any of Europe’s leaders (two facts which are almost certainly connected). But that does not make it wrong.


Behind the titanic struggles to rescue the euro and the almost equally titanic obsessions of Tory Eurosceptics intent on re-opening ancient wounds in their party, there lurks, as the Americans say, a 650lb gorilla which everyone is conveniently ignoring.


The position of Europe in the world has changed fundamentally in the last decade or so – and not to our advantage.


This is no longer a unipolar world dominated by our friendly neighbourhood superpower on the other side of the Atlantic. It is increasingly a multipolar world in which we have to survive among many competitors – only a few of them friends – who look hungrily at our markets, our influence and our position.


Our American allies seem to understand this better than we do. They now look west across the Pacific just as much — maybe more — than they do east across the Atlantic. As the US Secretary for Defence Robert Gates recently made clear, the US no longer sees itself as Europe’s defender of last resort and friend for all circumstances.


Europe, in short, is much more alone today, than it used to be.


Meanwhile to our east, we have a highly assertive — not to say aggressive — Russian leader, whose fondness for tanks over dialogue has already been shown and who looks certain to be elected for another six years in office. Beyond that we have a rising China; a growing India; an ascendant Brazil; and to our south, a whole new set of relationships to build with the post-Arab Spring Maghreb — and a new kid on the block, Turkey, who is currently making more progress there than we are.


If we Europeans don’t understand that the right reaction to our new circumstances is not to loosen, but to deepen the integration of our defence, our foreign policy and our economics, then we are bloody fools. If we really believe that this is a moment to consign ourselves to a collection of perfectly sovereign corks bobbing along in the wake of other people’s ocean liners, the next decades will be much more difficult, turbulent and dangerous for us.


This is not to say that the European Union can stay as it is.


The tragedy of the past half century of European integration is that the Brussels institutions have turned a transcendental idea into a conspiracy of obsession with the petty. In an age when all our democracies are under pressure, they have consistently failed to tackle the yawning democratic and accountability deficits which still infect the heart of the EU machine – while at the same time failing to show the unity or vision to make a real difference where we could and should, for instance in the Balkans.


The result is not something we “pro-Europeans” find it comfortable to admit; Europe’s institutions in their present form have comprehensively lost the confidence of the people they serve.


There is a price to pay for this.


Maybe it was right in different circumstances to seek a single perfectly level social playing field and perfectly homogenised sets of rules, means and standards to support the single economic market. But this, coupled with what the public regards as unwarranted interference in our domestic affairs, is just no longer sellable.


So do I agree with the Tory Party in their quest to “repatriate powers” from Brussels?


Only up to a point, Lord Copper.


I can agree that it would be better if the EU adopted the principle that in such matters as agriculture and fishing, it would set the targets and leave it more to member nations to decide how to achieve them. I agree too that it should accept more variation in social norms and intervene much less in those matters which touch on the services of citizens within their own countries. I do not take the view that the single market requires us to be as rigid on these matters as we currently are.


But this is only part of the story.

If on the one hand the EU should get out of things it doesn’t have to be in, then on the other it should get deeper into those areas where, in an increasingly turbulent, even hostile world, it is to all our benefits to speak with a more powerful voice together, than we ever would alone.


The Tory Party want to “repatriate” powers as a prelude to weakening the EU and our voice in it. In this climate, that seems to me folly of a grand order.


Far better to rebalance the powers of the EU so that in those areas where it is in our interest to speak with a louder voice in an inhospitable world, we have the ability to do so.



The Euro The Times 19 Nov 2011

Why joining the Euro would have been right and may become right again sooner than we think.

 The Times 19 Nov 2011

 In these uncertain times, one thing is clear; we who recommended Britain should join the Euro should hang our heads in shame, apologise and remove ourselves from the public debate for a decent interval.


Er – no!


The argument that if Britain had joined the Euro on 1997 it would have been disaster, rests on a single presumption. Then we would now be the same as Spain, Italy Portugal and Greece. But Britain is not small, southern, cavalier about the rules, and largely without a manufacturing base like these countries. It is large, northern, rich, serious about the rules and with a strong manufacturing tradition like those who faced up to the challenges of the Euro by liberalising their markets and improving their competitiveness. In the Euro, why should we have acted like the countries most unlike us, rather than those most like us?


Take the case of Germany. It is only a few years since the commentators were warning that, post unification, German growth was stagnant, its economy staggering. Could Germany ever again be the engine of Europe? they gravely asked. We have our answer. Not just the engine – the fire engine, too. From the sick man of Europe to the saviour of Europe in a hand-full of years. “Just li’ that” – as Tommy Cooper used to say.


Except it wasn’t. Germany did it by facing up to its problems and improving its competitiveness. Since it couldn’t devalue and wouldn’t borrow, there wasn’t another way.


Thanks to Mrs Thatcher’s 1980s supply side reforms, Britain was well placed to do the same. But being out of the Euro, we could devalue. And so we did – by a whopping 20%. Once again, as so often, right back to Harold Wilson, Britain ducked the problem by devaluing ourselves out of it.


I even saw one Conservative Euro-sceptic newspaper celebrate this fact with a headline which said something like “Thank goodness we are out of the Euro so we can devalue!”. Harold Wilson, thou shoudls’t be living at this hour!


And so having the freedom to duck the German way of improving competitiveness, we did so. And unrestrained by the Euro’s rules (which the Italians broke, but we would have followed) decided to follow them down the route of more borrowing to maintain living standards, because it was easier and more fun. And for a bit it was. But now, fifteen years later, we are back to exactly the same problem the Euro would have forced us to face then; improve our competitiveness and produce tradeable goods the world will buy – while now having to cut our massive deficit at the same time. The worst of both worlds.


Would it really have been even worse if, like our northern partners we had been in the Euro and subject to its disciplines, rather than out and free to repeat our old indisciplines? I don’t think so.


And who knows if we had been in, we might have added weight to those who argued (as I did) that you could not create an economic giant, controlled by a political pygmy? That there had to be stricter rules, stronger sanctions, more muscular central institutions. We might also have added weight to those who wanted a more rigorous approach to liberalization, competiveness and financial discipline. And adding weight to these arguments, we might even have won them and have a very different Eurozone today.


So should Britain join the Euro now? Of course not. But we should not exclude the possibility in the future. This is what separates us from the Eurosceptics. We still say, if it should become in Britain’s interest to join the Euro, we should. They say EVEN if it were to be in Britain’s interest to join the Euro, we shouldn’t.


This could – and sooner than we think – become much more than just an academic question.


Maybe the whole thing will now unravel and the EU with it – in which case, bring on the clowns.


But absent that, only two other options remain.


Somehow they make the current Euro of 17 work. On balance this appears unlikely; even if the people don’t reject it, the markets cannot yet be made to believe in it.


If the 17 fail, then a core Euro follows – Germany, Benelux, Austria, Finland and (for political reasons) France –Sweden probably, too. Strong, free market, in surplus and working together to drive the policies of the EU.


In either case, deeper integration, Treaty Change and very probably, a referendum


In either case, too, Britain would be almost alone in the outer ring and trying to get further out, while almost all the others – even Mr Cameron’s best friends the Polish – are trying to get further in. Where do our allies come from then?


Despite Mr Cameron’s brave words Britain has, vide his visit to Berlin on Friday, now lost almost all influence over the dynamic in Europe. And over the timing and context of a referendum in this country, too. The PM will swear to defend Britain before every Euro-summit, but bring back too little to satisfy his back benchers, afterwards. The Euro members will caucus to advantage those who are in and disadvantage those who are out (beware, the City, start cheering Frankfurt). Now a grumpy discontented England becomes a furiously angry one; a referendum is unstoppable and the outcome, a foregone conclusion.


I say England, because there will be another referendum about the same time – in Scotland. Held on Mr Salmond’s terms and timing, there is now every chance that he will win this – and then seek to join the Euro.


This is the tiger we are riding.


So finally we can count the cost of staying out of the Euro. Spurning the best in the Euro zone, we reformed our economy fifteen years later than we should have done. Following the worst in the Eurozone, we ran up debts we shouldn’t have done. Cutting ourselves off from influence in the EU, we finally left it in disgust. And ended up, Euro to the north of us, Euro to the south, Euro to the east of us and Euro to the west. Splendid little England, splendidly isolated, splendidly alone and of course, as ever, splendidly right!


Not all certain, of course. But on this course, all increasingly likely.





EU-Russia 29 Sep 2012

A Positive EU-Russian Agenda by Lord Paddy Ashdown


As EU and Russian leaders meet in Nice next week for their six-monthly summit, their thoughts will be less on Georgia than the financial crisis and the prospects of working with the new US President. But Georgia is important is important because without full implementation of the six-point plan agreed between President Sarkozy and President Medvedev there will be no start to the long-delayed and much-needed EU-Russia negotiations for a new partnership agreement.


What do recent events mean for the EU? First, it was hugely encouraging that it was the EU which was widely seen as the only game in town when it came to international mediation in Georgia. President Sarkozy is to be congratulated for his swift and successful involvement. At the same time the conflict was a failure of EU-Russia relations. There were many signals in the run up to August that were ignored by both sides. In future, the EU and Russia need to substantially increase their discussions on security issues, including the outstanding ‘frozen conflicts’.


Second, the French plan for a beefed up EU defence policy is right and should be embraced by all member states as soon as possible. We need a more capable EU willing to look after its own security and take greater responsibility for regional security. Apart from a quantum increase in the potential of European forces and in the political leverage they can exert, there would also be huge savings to be made if member states really cooperate on defence procurement. Furthermore, President-elect Obama has stated that he will expect the EU to do more in the security field. (Dependent upon result). It would be an irony indeed, if, having spent the last eight years complaing about President Bush’s unilateralism (which the EU has used an excuse not to get its own act together on defence and foreign affairs), the EU’s bluff is now called by President Obama honouring his campaign rhetoric and seeking a more multilateral approach, only to find the EU hasn’t got the effective institutions to respond to this.

Third, Brussels should pay more attention to its eastern neighbourhood and offer Ukraine, in particular, closer ties to the EU. Why should Ukrainians or Georgians enjoy a less favourable visa regime than Russians?


Finally, the EU should press the new US President to engage more with Russia, a dialogue that has been almost completely absent in recent years. Given that so many security issues concern the EU, Russia and the US, it is vital that Washington and Moscow talk to each other on a regular basis.


And what should Russia do? It is clear that no individual country is able to deal with the financial crisis on a national basis. For Russia, therefore, it is an opportunity to work with the EU and others to help overcome the crisis. The G20 meeting just after the Nice summit should be an occasion to start such consultations. Russia also needs to reassure the international community that it takes seriously concerns about the rule of law. When Medvedev took office he made this his top priority but there has been almost no progress towards the separation of powers and an independent judiciary. If Russia wants to see Western investment flowing back into Russia, President Medvedev must address these issues.


Where does this leave EU-Russia relations? The short answer is a state of   uncertainty. Moscow seems split between those who think Russia can still go it alone in world affairs and those who would like to bring Russian fully into the international community. The debate on WTO accession is one such struggle in Moscow. Relations with the EU are another. Many in the business community and the more forward-looking politicians would prefer to continue working towards a strategic partnership with the EU. Most economists understand that Russia can only modernise its economy with the support of the EU. The crash in the Moscow stock market and the large loss of foreign capital since 8 August has given pause for thought. Despite the rhetoric about not fearing another Cold War, both Putin and Medvedev know that Russia could not sustain another arms race and with a falling population, there must now be worry in Moscow that they have the resources even to provide adequate defence of their own territory, let alone engage in adventurist expansionism. But Russia not only faces economic and demographic problems it also lacks f friends. The only country that followed Russia into recognising the independence of South Ossetia and Abkhazia was Nicaragua.


How should the EU react to inevitable Russian pressure and attempts to divide it? The first step is for the Member States to recognise that the EU has a number of strong cards to play in negotiating with Russia. The EU has almost 500 million citizens compared to Russia’s 140 million. The EU is more than ten times richer than Russia. The EU has the largest and most attractive internal market in the world and Russian companies want a slice of this cake. Europe pays top rates for Russian energy and Gazprom gets 70% of its profits from sales to the EU. The EU takes nearly 60% of total Russian exports. Moscow also wants to join the WTO and the EU can help facilitate this process. Russia wants access to EU programmes on education, research and science and it wants to facilitate travel to the EU. Although the EU has no single big carrot on offer like enlargement it has many things that the Russians would like. EU policy must be based on a firm understanding of its common interests and then pursuing these interests with a common voice. Difficult – yes. Impossible – no.



Lord Ashdown is President of the EU Russia Centre

Pax Europea 26 April 2016

Pax Europea Paddy Ashdown

There was a day when you could divide policies between domestic and foreign; major national issues did not stray too far beyond national borders. This is no longer the case. There is no domestic issue that does not have a foreign quotient with it: not jobs; not the environment; not terrorism, crime, or security.


Those who argue that leaving Europe will give us more control our own affairs, don’t understand that the opposite is true. By pooling our sovereignty with our European neighbours we have more control over global forces. By being alone global forces have more control over us.


Defence is often cited as the first duty of a Government. A stable, peaceful nation, without external threats to its civilians, is a strong nation. AS NATO shows, in the modern, globalised world this means pooling our sovereignty and working closely with those whose values we share around the world. That’s why every one of our international friends, every ally, every world leader worth listening to, has come out in support of us staying in Europe – except for one – Vladimir Putin, whose aim these twenty years has been to break up the EU. Should we really be helping him?


Working in partnership, as a union of like-minded states, we have overcome many of our difference. Just 75 years ago we were dropping bombs on Germany; 30 years ago we were pointing nuclear missiles at Poland.  Before that we struggled through centuries of bloody wars. Yet today we sit around the same table, talking together, negotiating a shared, stronger, future for us all.


It is for this reason that I am a passionate European. I find something attractive about this idea – that it has put an end to centuries of war, with the slaughter of millions of our young generations across history, by bringing our previously disparate nations together.



It is not just the nations within Europe that see the benefits of peace and security. The European Union is a massive soft power that, as we act together, helps to build peace on our doorstep and across the world. Furthermore, it helps to deal with the catastrophic fallout from conflict – the destruction that follows wars, as in Bosnia. One of the greatest strategic issues of our time — the mass movements of people escaping wars in Africa and the Middle East – will only be successfully overcome by cooperation, by working together to solve otherwise insurmountable problems. Over the years the European Union has shown itself to be have been far more effective at sustaining and building peace, underpinning democracy and creating the rule of law than all the aircraft carriers of the United States put together.


Of course the peace of Europe is not today threatened by war inside our borders. But it is threatened by war all around us. Consider this; We now live in a world where the US is looking quite as much west across the Pacific, as east across the Atlantic. On our eastern borders we have the most aggressive Russian President of our time, prepared to take European territory with tanks. To our southeast we have an Arab world in flames. To our south the Maghreb is in turmoil right down into sub-Saharan Africa. And all around us are economic powers now growing larger than any single European nation. And this is the time to remove ourselves from the solidarity of our friends and partners in the EU? That would be folly of the highest order and would result on the dangers of a most turbulent era being far greater for us and our children than they need be.




The Referendum Newsweek 16 March 2016

The Referendum

Nobody viewing the tragic scenes in Brussels yesterday can fail to be moved to tears by what has unfolded. No matter how many times bombings and shootings take place before our TV screens, the uncompromising images of violence, terror and confusion shock us all to the core. When confronted with such horrors in person, human beings have two default responses – fight or flight.


The same is true for Britain as a nation. Do we work together with our allies to confront terror, or cut ourselves off and vainly try to ignore the world around us?


My answer is clear. This more than ever is the time to stand together with our friends in Belgium and across Europe. We must not allow the butchers of ISIS to divide us, and we must give short shrift, too, to those who want to use these attacks to divide our societies. This is no time for division. It is a time to understand why as Europeans we should stand together with our friends in Belgium in their suffering and resist both the racists and extremists of Jihad, and the racists and extremists in our midst in their attempts to divide us. Our unity in Europe makes us safer, not weaker. Our solidarity is our best defence. Our pan European institutions provide us with the means to diminish these threats, not, as some foolishly claim, make them worse.


The chorus of voices making it clear that the EU makes our country’s ability to fight the threat of terrorism stronger, and that leaving would make us less secure, has been loud indeed. It includes the current Home Secretary and the vast bulk of her predecessors, the former head of the Association of Chief Police Officers, senior diplomats and Army officers, and the serving Director of Europol. They are unambiguous, as I am, that quitting Europe would weaken and divide the West. This could only serve the ambitions of those who seek to undermine our security, from terror networks in Brussels to President Putin in Moscow. The need for Europeans to stand together and work together will be even greater if, as seems possible now, Donald Trump ends up in the White House.


Being part of Europe, as I have seen myself, gives Britain a greater voice at the international table. With the greatest foreign policy reach in Europe, backed by expert intelligence services, we enjoy huge clout in the making of European foreign and security policy. When the world’s leaders come together to decide how to tackle these threats, our position in the EU gives the UK a seat at the top table.


Brussels is not so far away that terror attacks there will not un-nerve ordinary citizens on the streets of London and our other great cities. While there is no such thing as absolute security, they should be heartened by two things. Firstly, the immense effectiveness in counter-terrorism of our police and security services, honed over decades of bomb attacks by the IRA. And secondly, by the immensely beneficial anti-terrorist co-operation that takes place under the auspices of the EU.


Europol co-ordinates and encourages joint operations by European police forces, with Eurojust performing the same function for prosecutors. EU systems like PNR and the Prüm Convention, to which Britain recently opted in, allow our security services to access data quickly and simply on airline passengers, vehicle registration, DNA and fingerprints. And the European Arrest Warrant provides the means for terrorist suspects to be brought to Britain from other EU countries to face trial for crimes committed here, and vice versa.


Of course, none of this will defeat terrorism. Having served in Northern Ireland during my military career and worked with the EU to create a sustainable peace in Bosnia, Europe’s largest and oldest Muslim community, I know that terrorism cannot simply be managed out of existence – its root causes, often political in nature, need dealing with. We need to demonstrate every day that the values of liberal democracy and pluralism are better than their alternatives. As Rabindranath Tagore so beautifully put it, “we are all the more one, because we are many.”


But the terrorist threat still requires fighting. Britain’s ability to do so would be severely compromised if we cut ourselves off from Europe. Besides, what sort of country would we be to abandon our allies in their time of need and suffering? Doing so would be against everything Britain has stood for in our long history – everything that has made us great in the past. Now more than ever the nations of Europe need to stand together, both in practical security measures and in our values. That is why we must vote to remain in Europe on June 23rd.


Paddy Ashdown is a former leader of the Liberal Democrats, former UN High Representative to Bosnia-Herzegovina, and a political champion of Britain Stronger In Europe