From my experience as an MEP, I know only too well that there are many things needing change in Europe.
David Cameron has put it well: “instead of looking outwards to the world, the EU is looking inwards, at itself. Seeking new 'competences'. Creating new posts.”
It’s not good enough. The federalists need to stop – stop the interference, stop the new posts, stop the ever increasing laws. Europe must get off people’s backs.
And I can tell you what we really do not need or want – a European President. Especially if that President is Tony Blair.
When it comes to listing how Europe interferes, it’s a very, very long list. Some are ridiculous – remember how Europe tried to ban bendy bananas? Some are very serious – the Working Time Directive, the Social Chapter, the failed Common Fisheries Policy, business people and farmers wrapped and hobbled by red tape.
Absurd EU regulations getting in the way of business; getting in the way of Member States; and getting in the way of millions of people getting on with their lives.
That is why we need change in Brussels. And Northern Ireland needs a voice for real change in Brussels. When the deals are being done in Brussels, Northern Ireland must make its voice heard. We will get nothing from Europe sitting on the sidelines, ourselves alone.
Friends, working with my Conservative colleagues in the next European Parliament, I will ensure that Northern Ireland will be fully involved in working for change – real change – in Europe.
What kind of Europe do we want?
The federalists want a rigid, centralised and bureaucratic super-state.
We, as the Conservatives and Unionists, believe in something very different.
We will put the reform agenda at the heart of Europe.
We will make Europe more accountable to national parliaments and to taxpayers.
And I am confident we will be forming a new political group in the Parliament, to oppose the federalist agenda and work for a Europe that respects Member States.
Ladies and Gentlemen, let us use this campaign as a platform to send the message that Europe must change – that the red-tape, the federalism, and the bureaucracy must go.
We want a Europe to concentrate on things that really matter. A Europe that focuses on rebuilding our economic competitiveness through common sense solutions and cooperation between Nation States.
You deserve better in Brussels – it’s time to vote for change.
Largely echoing my own thoughts from yesterday- fighting for the necessary change, but from within the European Union. It’s not a federal, bureaucratized, over-regulated Europe which should be the final goal, but a Europe where cooperation between independent member states helps all to achieve their full economic potential. And it will be much easier to achieve that objective fighting as part of a larger UK-wide force, the Conservatives, than attempting the old tried and failed "ourselves alone" method.
Michael has the full Cameron speech via YouTube here .
BobsBalls! Has further analysis of both Empey’s and Nicholson’s speeches here.