The SDLP candidate in the European election has said he will "robustly oppose withdrawal from the EU".
Alex Attwood is set to run in the upcoming European poll on May 22.
On handing in his nomination papers yesterday, the former Environment Minister in the Stormont Assembly said the election was about the "future direction of the country".
The West Belfast MLA said: "We are faced with a choice at this election.
"We can go further down the road of bad government, which fails our people on health, jobs and education and which leads to weakness in, and opposition to, Europe – the old politics, exploiting fears.
"Or, we can go decisively in another direction."
Mr Attwood added: "We all know that the North is losing out in Europe.
"It is time for strength again in Europe. As an MEP I would sit with a Socialist and Democrat Group with up to 30% of the members of the parliament with the influence and access that would bring.
"The other NI MEPs are on the margins of power.
"I will robustly oppose withdrawal from the EU. To do so will hurt our farmers, businesses and people more than any part of these islands.
"Reform can help, but withdrawal is folly."
The SDLP representative said: "An effective, pro-European voice can get things done and deliver strength again in Europe.
"A new politics that lives up to the daily needs and great hopes of our people."