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"Stronger Together, Poorer Apart"

May 17, 2009 6:17 PM

Nick CleggNick Clegg has set out the Europe Campaign with the message "Stronger Together, Poorer Apart." He has warned that Britain must lead within the EU to protect families from crime, climate change and the recession. "We can only protect British families from crime, the recession and climate change if our country works with other EU countries. Criminals, business, climate change - these things cross borders. So the police, regulators, and environmental action have to cross borders too. It's the EU that makes this essential cooperation possible. Only the Liberal Democrats know how to provide security, jobs, and a clean environment by leading in the European Union. Liberal Democrats backed EU plans for the fast track extradition of thousands of criminals suspects across Europe - including 21/7 bomber Hussein Osman who was extradited in just three weeks from Rome. It would have taken months if UKIP and the Conservatives had succeeded in blocking these new rules. Liberal Democrats support EU police and judicial cooperation, which have achieved a huge amount in particular in relation to people trafficking and internet crime. One investigation known as Operation Koala managed to close down a website which contained 150 sexually explicit videos of underage girls and prosecute the people who ran it and its customers. Because the operators and users of this site were in a total of 28 different countries, it was only because of EU cooperation that the prosecution was swift and successful."

The main priorities for Liberal Democrats are listed below and include working with Europe to crackdown on offshore financial centres, charting a green road out of recession, protecting privacy and human rights, promoting free and fair world trade, replacing the CAP and improving European defence cooperation.

1. Put money in people's pockets with big, permanent tax cuts for ordinary people and families, funded by closing loopholes and unfair exemptions that benefit big business and the wealthy. There is a growing problem of companies and banks using offshore financial centres and other means to avoid paying their fair share in tax. This can only be stopped if EU countries co-ordinate better and are stricter at cracking down on offshore centres.

2. Create more jobs and chart a green road out of recession. The Liberal Democrats will work with our European neighbours to create thousands of new jobs by breaking down trade barriers across Europe and boosting support for green jobs. Liberal Democrats want to create new jobs in green industries, put money in people's pockets from saving energy, and build a transport network we can all be proud of. We will encourage other European countries to put in place similar investments to ensure we emerge from recession stronger and greener than before.

3. Make banks work for us. British banks are inextricably bound up with banking systems across Europe. We must work together to keep an eye on how banks are operating across Europe and get a grip on the behaviour of credit institutions. We want more co-operation in Europe between national financial services authorities and the European Central Bank.

4. Catch criminals, sex offenders and terrorists. Our MEPs support greater co-operation between police forces such as the European Arrest Warrant that helps Britain swiftly bring back suspects to face justice in this country rather than wait for the old lengthy extradition procedures.

5. Protect privacy and human rights. We need guaranteed privacy safeguards on access to databases by police and intelligence agencies, including when access is given to non-EU countries such as the US.

6. Ensure green, affordable and secure energy supplies. Britain has the potential to lead the world in clean renewable energy particularly wave, tidal and wind power. Our goal is for Britain to source all energy needs from within the EU by 2030 and become a net exporter of energy by 2050. This will deliver secure supplies of cleaner energy - and lower bills.

7. Promote free and fair world trade. The EU should promote a world trading system that is both free and fair. That means a liberal and open system that increases economic growth and jobs, but that takes account of environmental and social standards too. The EU has a key role to play in salvaging the Doha development round of the World Trade Organisation, including eliminating trade barriers and production subsidies in agriculture.

8. Get a fair deal for shoppers and holidaymakers. We want to open markets in Europe and force down the costs of everything from medicines to mobile phone bills, meals and machinery. Liberal Democrats stood up for millions of British holidaymakers by slashing mobile phone roaming charges, blacklisting unsafe airlines, and introducing flight delay refunds. We will continue to fight for a better deal for Britain's consumers.

9. Replace the Common Agricultural Policy with a new policy that strengthens agriculture, ensures fair trade for farmers and delivers sustainable development of the countryside. This would help farmers to get a fair price for their produce, encourage home-grown food, conserve our countryside, help rural economies, help tackle climate change and ensure cleaner water and protect water supplies.

10. Reform the EU budget to get better value for money. 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.

11. Boost military capabilities to make a stronger European contribution to NATO and to give Europe the capability to act when it needs to. Liberal Democrats say no to a European army, but yes to European defence cooperation. We want a strong Europe within an effective NATO. We believe that NATO remains the bedrock of our collective security.