Between here and Lib Dem Voice we’ve covered the succession of positive reasons to vote for the Liberal Democrats given in recent days by The Observer, Polly Toynbee, The Guardian and The Independent in the combined local and European elections.
So it seems only fitting to top that list today with a reminder of the party’s own choice of words:
The European Parliament election is a big choice for Britain.
Labour’s arrogance has messed up Britain’s relationship with other European countries
The Conservatives and UKIP think that on its own Britain can face the economic storm, climate change, international crime, people-trafficking and terrorism
Liberal Democrats know effective cooperation creates prosperity – more than 3 million jobs in the UK depend on trade with other EU countries.
Liberal Democrats are working with our European neighbours to protect Britain and catch terrorists and criminals who operate across national borders.
Liberal Democrats know that countries have to work together to tackle climate change.
Vote Liberal Democrat and make a difference.
The Liberal Democrat European manifesto contains an extensive section on how we would make Europe work better, including:
Spend Better, Crack Down on Fraud: Liberal Democrats want to see tougher controls on EU countries and the EU itself for the management of EU money. Both countries and EU institutions should be named, shamed and fined for repeat offences – for example the Rural Payments Agency for England and Wales has a poor track record of using EU funds. The EU must also end unnecessary spending on the organisation of the EU institutions themselves. Scrapping the European Parliament’s monthly move to Strasbourg and basing it permanently in Brussels would save around €200m a year. We do not see the need, in the current context, for any significant growth in the budget’s size, nor the abolition of the British rebate. But the EU budget is in urgent need of wholesale reform so that money is spent only on the things the EU really needs to do and there is a more rational system for contributions by member states. This means in particular further reform of the Common Agricultural Policy.
More Democracy, Stronger Parliaments: We want those who are elected, such as MEPs and MPs, to have greater power so that EU institutions can be held properly to account. That is why we support the Lisbon Treaty which gives extra powers for national parliaments to scrutinise and object to EU proposals. Because protecting our civil liberties is a priority for Liberal Democrats, we want the democratic European Parliament to have the power to scrutinise and amend EU justice and home affairs agreements such as on data protection, privacy and fundamental legal rights. We also seek greater involvement for ministers from Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales at European meetings where there are clear advantages, such as farming and fisheries policy…
Holding MEPs to Account: Liberal Democrat MEPs have been at the forefront of the campaign to reform the European Parliament. It was our MEPs who blew the whistle on the lack of openness and malpractice. Many of the reforms we have argued for will come into effect in July 2009. Liberal Democrats expect the highest standards of public service and honesty from all our representatives. That is why all Liberal Democrat MEPs and candidates have signed a binding Code of Conduct on the use of their parliamentary allowances. This includes making public the names of all staff, including family members, and strict adherence to the letter and spirit of the European Parliament rules. We expect all other MEPs to do the same. We will continue to work to reform MEPs expenses, ensure transparency and end the abuses that have undermined public confidence.