Rejoining the European Union as soon as possible has rightly become the number one priority for the European Movement. I fully support our strategy of “Step by Step to Rejoin”, which I was pleased to play a part in developing. But we now need to consider: what are the next steps, in what order should we take them, when, and how?
When I first became Vice Chair of EMUK, at the start of 2020, we were on the verge of leaving the EU and our movement was feeling battered and bruised. At that time, we urgently needed to pull together, regroup and start to rebuild. The question of rejoining seemed fantastical in the wake of defeat.
Now, 4 years on, we have come a long way. Membership of EMUK has tripled and we have built a professional staff team ready to take on the challenge which lies ahead of us. The failure of Brexit is widely recognised, and the word Rejoin is starting to be uttered in polite conversation.
I feel strongly that we have the potential to become a truly mass membership organisation. We will do this by inspiring to join us those millions of people who feel strongly that our future lies at the heart of Europe and who are impatient to see someone lead the UK back into the EU. We must ensure that EMUK leads the way back into Europe. Having an unambiguous and ambitious Rejoin message is essential.
We must help our branches and local activists. It is ironic that whilst our membership has surged, many of our local groups are struggling. We must provide central support, both to bolster existing groups and to foster the expansion of our branch network to fill in the gaps. It is not enough to campaign in the digital and media space (important though that is); we need boots on the ground in cities, towns and villages throughout the UK, with our activists speaking to people in their communities and persuading them. We will not prevail unless we are able to reach outside of our pro-EU bubbles.
We must take – at pace – the next steps to Rejoin! Bearing in mind that we are many, we should be ready to move forward on many fronts at once – we don’t need to take the steps in single file! Having rejoined Horizon, let’s now get into Erasmus. But meanwhile, let’s restore cultural links with the rest of Europe, such as by the restoration of twinning and exchanges, or by developing the wonderful Festival of Europe. Let’s get in a Customs Union and remove many of those trade barriers at a stroke. Being even more ambitious – let us demand the restoration of freedom of movement, which will then open the door to us joining the Single Market. Then, the final step - EU accession - would be within reach!
I am looking forward with excitement to the next phase of our struggle. The pendulum of history is finally swinging back in our direction. Now we must be at the vanguard of the fight to overcome the wave of grim nationalism which has been sweeping across the western world and reassert the values of internationalism which are so vital to the peaceful future of humanity.
If you agree with what I have said, please back my ideas by voting for me as your first preference for Vice Chair of the European Movement.
Vice-Chair of the European Movement UK
P.S. To vote for me you'll need to be a member of the European Movement (and have been since Oct 16th 2023). You'll also need to enter your unique login details found in the original Civica voting email (sent on Oct 27th). Alternatively, you can click the link in the original Civica email and vote from there.
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