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Friday, May 28, 1999 Published at 14:31 GMT 15:31 UK


Pro-Euro Conservative Party



The Pro-Euro Conservative Party was formally launched in February 1999 by Conservative MEPs John Stevens and Brendan Donnelly. The two had already been in effect deselected as Tory candidates for the next Euro-elections.

The party's main aim is to get the UK to join the single currency as soon as possible, and to apply pro-European pressure on the Conservative Party in the same way Eurosceptics did to John Major's government.

It hopes to achieve this by running rival candidates that will split the Tory vote. With the elections being held under proportional representation, the party has more of a chance of having an impact than under the First Past The Post system.

Although the Pro-Euro Conservative Party's predominant issue is the euro, it also calls for the Conservative Party to reform itself and return to more moderate Tory values.

The Labour government is also criticised because it "wants to join the euro but dare not say so".

The Pro-Euro Conservative Party

Manifesto: "Time to decide."

"Our party wants early British membership of the European single currency. We shall be pushing the government to move faster to achieve it . . We believe that Euroscepticism may destroy the traditional Conservative Party."

"We are a party based on traditional Conservative values, which rejects the radical Euroscepticism now permeating every aspect of official Conservative policy . . .

"We foresee no improvement in the electoral fortunes of the Conservative Party until it reverts to its traditional positive view of Europe and European policy . . . Every vote cast for us will be a powerful signal to the Conservative leadership that it is destroying the Conservative Party."

The euro

According to the party's manifesto, the UK has historically suffered from an inability to commit itself to being a European nation while failing to discover a better alternative.

  • The UK has always joined European institutions and adopted European policies late, reluctantly, and in a manner that bred later resentment among its EU partners.
  • Joining the single currency would make for a stable UK economy, lead to a lowering of inflation and interest rates.
  • Staying out would inevitably mean increased economic uncertainty, uncompetitive interest rates and increased unemployment in the future. Exporters and manufacturing industries would be damaged.
  • Once in the eurozone the UK could better promote deregulation, enlargement, free trade and budget reform.

    Institutional reform

  • The European Parliament must have sufficient powers to scrutinise effectively the European Commission, the European Central Bank and other EU institutions.
  • The commission itself must be urgently reformed. Use of the veto must be reduced as more countries join the EU.
  • The Common Agricultural Policy should be retained but reformed.

    Security and defence

  • The Kosovo crisis illustrates the need for Europe to have its own defence and security policy; to this end, an integrated EU pillar within Nato should be developed.
  • Germany must also play a fuller, more outward-looking diplomatic and military role than it has since the end of the second world war.

    Enlargement

  • The EU should strengthen political and economic ties to the Balkans, with a view to their eventual membership. A regional free trade zone should be created in the area, and use of the euro there encouraged in order to speed economic integration.
  • EU enlargement to bring in eastern European countries must be speeded up - and policy areas subject to veto by a single member state reduced "to the absolute minimum".
  • National legal systems should be integrated more across Europe.



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