Lord Heseltine on EMUK's 75th anniversary

Published on February 16, 2024

Today marks 75 years since the European Movement UK was formed. 

That's 75 years of upholding European values, advocating for our shared interests, and pushing for friendship and cooperation across borders.  

We were founded in 1949 in the shadow of war. People across the European continent were starting to coalesce around a new vision that such disunity and destruction must never happen again.   

This vision was best illustrated by Winston Churchill himself who proclaimed that “we must create a kind of United States of Europe”. As I discussed in a recent conversation with our chair, Mike Galsworthy, to me, that was the inspirational moment which charted beyond measure the future of our country.   

I know that if Churchill was alive today, he would be overjoyed at the strides Europe has taken in just half a century. From a place of conflict and indifference to one of collaboration and unity. 

But he would recognise that there is a hole in the middle of Europe, a hole that must be filled. As a country, we must reclaim our place at the European table. 

The appetite for unity is there.   

But if we’re ever going to get there then we must uphold this European vision.   

The same vision Churchill had, the same vision of the men and women whose lives were destroyed by the war, the same vision that I believe in today. That we are stronger together and that collaboration is more powerful than isolation.   

We've been upholding this vision for 75 years, and while we may not have won every battle, I believe that we will not lose the war.  By its history, its sense of tolerance, and its politics, the UK belongs inside of the EU. Looking forward to the coming years and decades of this movement, I am proud to know that we will still be here, making the case for our place in Europe. 

The European vision was about administering Europe in a more peaceful, harmonious, profitable and prosperous way. That is how we saw the future back in the 1940s and that is still how I see the future today.   

A future where the United Kingdom is at the centre of one of the greatest power blocks not excluded from it. Together we can make this future a reality.   

Lord Heseltine   

President of European Movement UK  




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