The UK has always been a nation which has thrived on trade. We became members of the European Economic Community in 1973 because we believed in freedom and open markets.
We wished to do business with the rest of Europe. Unfortunately, the EU has strayed from its founding principles and British people have become increasingly exasperated with the shenanigans in Brussels.
This week saw a new low for the European Union with the appointment of Jean-Claude Juncker as President of the European Commission. The politician, from Luxembourg, has a very different view of how Europe should operate. He is a federalist, who wants the power of nation states to be curtailed, while the EU gains more and more say.
For that reason David Cameron and the UK government vehemently opposed his appointment. The Prime Minister initiated a vote on Juncker’s appointment, although only the plucky Hungarians backed his position, in the end.
We should be proud to have a leader who is prepared to stand up to the rest of the EU. The organisation has had many benefits for the UK and for Northern Ireland in particular, but, as an important member, this country cannot allow its purpose to be distorted. We are the third biggest state by population, we are a huge exporter of European goods and our opinion matters.
The Prime Minister has made it absolutely clear that the UK’s membership of the EU cannot be taken for granted. We’re, quite rightly, fed up with federalism, bossiness and waste coming from Brussels. David Cameron has said we won’t put up with it anymore and he has set out a plan to reclaim powers which had been given away to the bureaucrats in Europe.
No-one in the EU, whether it’s Angela Merkel, Francois Hollande or Jean-Claude Juncker can contemplate the UK leaving. If we were to exit, the Union would instantly be in a world of trouble. That means that our Prime Minister has an excellent negotiating position.
David Cameron is about to reclaim significant powers from Brussels, then put our EU membership to the British people at a referendum. We have a Prime Minister who is not afraid to stand up to Brussels and he will continue to put his people first, despite characters like Jean-Claude Juncker, who try to promote an unaccountable European super state.