Britain must negotiate a new relationship with Europe

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In October 2009 the Financial Times published an open letter entitled 'Britain must negotiate a new relationship with Europe'.[1] The text below was reprinted on the Global Vision website.


Dear Sir,

The emerging debate about the new European Treaty exposes the underlying tension in Britain about the terms of our current relationship with our European Neighbours. Whilst Britain has always shared the objective of opening up free trade across Europe, we now find ourselves bound into a project of European political and economic integration that puts our own economic success at risk.

Britain is the world's 3rd biggest trading nation, with world class expertise in the City and many other high value sectors. In an increasingly global economy, Britain's future prosperity depends on developing our trading links and skills as a successful global trader -looking outwards to the new opportunities in the fast growing emerging economies. Yet this is increasingly difficult to reconcile with the regulations and costs imposed by the European Union as it seeks to protect an outdated and uncompetitive social market model in Europe.

As business leaders we believe the time has now come when we need not only to reject the impetus to further intervention that would flow from this Treaty, but finally face up to the need to negotiate a new relationship within Europe that better serves our national interests. This new relationship would aim to preserve the benefits of free trade and cooperation on policy areas where we and our neighbours have common interests, but enable Britain to opt out of the journey towards political and economic union that some other European countries seem determined to pursue. Only then can we free British business to realise our future as a global trading nation.

It is time to face reality. We urge political leaders of all parties to take up that challenge.


Lord Blackwell, Chairman, Global Vision | Ruth Lea, Director, Global Vision | Henry Angest | Mark E Austen | Peter Baker | Patrick Barbour | Grahame Berkeley | Tony Bickford | Julian Blackwell | Roger Brooke | Peter Buckley | John Craven | Michael Edwardes | Patrick Evershed | Nicholas Finney | Lord Forsyth of Drumlean | Rocco Forte | Jonathan Fry | Lord Griffiths of Fforestfach | Peter Hargreaves | Michael Heller | Richard Jeffrey | William A Jones | Stanley Kalms | Terence Kealey | Chris D Kelly | Brian Kingham | Rt Hon Lord Lamont of Lerwick | John Lovering | Michael Mander | Malcolm McAlpine | Edgar Miller | Nicholas Miller | Ian Milne | Peter Morgan | Baroness Noakes | Lord Northbrook | John Nott | Baroness O'Cathain | David Potter | Sir David Rowe-Ham | Christopher Shale | Lord Sheppard of Didgemere | Richard Smith | Lord Stevens of Ludgate | Michael Taylor | Viscount Trenchard | Lord Vinson of Roddam Dene | A M Vinton | Stuart Wheeler | John Williams | Oliver Wright | Michael Wyatt | Lord Young of Graffham


  1. Global Vision, Britain must negotiate a new relationship with Europe, Global Vision, 17-October-2007, Accessed 13-April-2011