The EU: A New Agenda for the 21st Century

Atkins backs Cameron’s call for the EU to focus on the needs of the future rather than the wreckage of the past.

In a keynote speech in Brussels, the Conservative Leader said reform was needed if the EU “is to be fit for the challenges of the new century, not stuck haggling over the debris of the last” - and set out his case for a 3G Europe that focuses on globalisation, global warming and global poverty.

He told the first conference of the Movement for European Reform in Brussels: “People in Europe have an ever-increasing feeling that something is going wrong, that an untransparent, complex, intricate, mammoth institution has evolved… grabbing ever greater competences and areas of power; that the democratic control mechanisms are failing: in brief, that it cannot go on like this.”

He declared: “If the nations of Europe are to live up to their responsibilities in the face of globalisation, global warming and global poverty, we have to change the way we operate.”

And he emphasised: “I believe that today we are starting that change. For a new spirit is awake in Europe. The spirit of the 21st century: fresh, dynamic, flexible and outward looking. The MER represents this spirit - and I call on the people and the leaders of Europe to join us in making it reality.”

He was joined at the Brussels conference by Shadow Foreign Secretary William Hague, Czech Prime Minister Mirek Topoláne, and Dona Esperanza Aguirre, the President of the Madrid Autonomous Region.

Over 350 delegates, including representatives from 18 different parties and 17 different countries including Sweden, Germany, Portugal, Hungary, Czech Republic, Luxembourg, Bulgaria, Lithuania, Estonia, Denmark, Serbia and Latvia, attended the conference; while 90 A -Level students from 10 British Schools attended the event.

Sir Robert Atkins MEP, Deputy Leader of the Conservative Delegation in the European Parliament said:

“I welcome David Cameron’s commitments to a “3G” Europe, addressing the issues that matter - Globalisation, Global Warming and Global Poverty - rather than the inward-looking agenda of many present EU leaders. We must now work hard to find centre-right parties and MEPs who share our vision and persuade them to join our new grouping in 2009”.

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