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Tuesday, May 25, 1999 Published at 13:44 GMT 14:44 UK


Labour Party



The Labour Party has not issued a separate European Parliamentary elections manifesto, but has adopted the manifesto of the The Party of European Socialists (PES), the centre-left bloc in the European Parliament.

The Labour Party

PES manifesto: "21 commitments for the 21st century"

"This manifesto of the Party of European Socialists sets out our 21 commitments for a new beginning for the European Union in the 21st century. These commitments reflect our shared values as socialists and social democrats. Democracy, freedom and human rights. Solidarity, social justice and equal opportunity. Common civic rights and responsibilities, and respect for international laws."

The parties that have signed up to the joint manifesto commit themselves to the following:

'A Europe of jobs and growth'

  • "To promote opportunities for employment for all those who are without work, and especially through programmes to help the young and long-term unemployed."
  • "To closer economic co-ordination aimed at ensuring sustainable growth and high levels of employment."
  • "To modernising and strengthening the European social model, promoting dialogue between the social partners and tackling social exclusion."
  • "To ensuring that the single currency achieves a smooth introduction and provides growth, employment and stability."
  • "To completing the single market, ensuring that Europe's businesses have free and equal access across Europe's markets and boosting employment through increased trade."
  • "To promoting a Europe of knowledge based on life-long learning, to train the workforce in the most modern skills and European research programmes that open up and develop the technologies of the future."

    'A Europe that puts citizens first'

  • Through a European Charter of rights, "to strengthening citizens' rights and building a Europe which is an area of freedom, security, justice and equal rights".
  • "To improving opportunities for young women and men in a Europe that secures the well-being of future generations."
  • "To ensuring equal opportunities for women and men across the European Union and promoting that principle in all the policies of the Union."
  • "To fight all forms of discrimination, to tackle prejudice and to defeat racism and xenophobia, and to work for successful integration through action at the European and national level."
  • "To cut the emission of greenhouse gasses, to press for action to halt resource depletion, to preserve biodiversity, improve food safety, and to pursue the principle that the polluter must pay."
  • "To preserving distinct cultures, to promoting understanding between them and to ensuring that all cultures can express themselves freely."
  • To fight crime by stepping up law enforcement co-operation within Europe and improving the effectiveness and democratic accountability of Europol."
  • "To bring decisions in Europe as close to the people as possible and respect the principle of subsidiarity by ensuring integration wherever necessary and decentralisation wherever possible."

    'A strong Europe'

  • "To work together to meet the challenge of globalisation and develop a more effective global governance through reformed international institutions and a better regulated international system."
  • "To taking the lead in the enlargement process based on thorough negotiations with a view to achieving the accession of new member states as soon as possible."
  • "To building close and strong co-operation in foreign policy and to enhancing Europe's capacity and means to prevent conflicts and to respond to security crises."
  • "To pursuing policies on aid, trade, investment and debt reduction which will reduce world poverty and contribute to the internationally agreed goal of halving the number of people living in abject poverty by 2015."

    'A democratic European Union that works better'

  • "To continue to reform the European Union's policies to make then relevant to the new century."
  • "To develop new sources of investment, to maintain budget discipline, and to improve the efficiency of the European Union's financial management in order to respond to new priorities."
  • "Before enlargement, to reform the institutions of the European Union to make them more open, efficient and democratic."

    'Labour delivering in Europe'

    The Labour Party is also standing on the platform set out in its Elections 1999 manifesto, issued prior to the Scottish Parliament, Welsh Assembly and local elections held on 6 May.

    Labour's vision of Europe remains as stated in the party's 1997 general election manifesto: "An alliance of independent nations choosing to co-operate to achieve goals they cannot achieve alone. We oppose a European federal superstate."

    The euro

    "In or out, it is in Britain's interests for Europe to have a successful single currency. The final preparations for the single currency were made under the UK presidency and the smooth transition to the new currency was a testament to our commitment to a stable and prosperous Europe."

    "We have always said that for Britain any decision about joining the single currency must be determined by a hard-headed assessment of Britain's economic interests."

    Labour has set out five economic tests by which the party will make its judgement on whether the UK should join the European single currency:

  • Convergence of the business cycle.
  • Ensuring the economy can respond to change.
  • The impact on investment.
  • The impact on financial services.
  • The impact on jobs.

    "Our intention is clear: Britain should join a single currency provided these conditions are met."

    "And we must be prepared to go in if the cabinet, Parliament and the people say 'Yes'. That is why we have set out an Outline National Changeover Plan and we are working with business to give Britain a genuine choice."

    'Modernising Europe'

    "To achieve the economic dynamism of America, Europe needs to reform its capital, product and labour markets. Under the UK presidency we set these reforms in motion. We continued work towards completion of the single market in areas such as telecommunications and energy."

    "At the end of the UK presidency our Cardiff summit was a beacon for best practice on jobs, training, the environment and technology."

    Institutional reform

    "In Europe our MEPs have been catalysts for change. It was Labour MEPs who put forward the motion which led to the setting up of the Committee of Independent Experts to investigate allegations of fraud and mismanagement in the European Commission."

    "The resignation of the commission, following the report of the Committee of Independent Experts, provides a new opportunity to build a consensus for more radical change, an opportunity to make Europe more relevant to its people".

    Labour proposes that in the short term reform must include:

  • Complete overhaul of the whole system of financial accountability, disciplinary proceedings in relation to commission staff and the awarding of contracts.
  • A new framework for fighting fraud.
  • The appointment of an independent fraud investigation office.

    As longer-term reform Labour proposes:

  • A new structure for the European Commission.
  • A better process of decision-making.
  • A system of accountability that recognises the importance of connecting the people of Europe more closely to the decisions that affect them.
  • With the involvement of the European Parliament, heads of government should draw up a specific statement of the aims and mission of the new European Commission - "a new contract between the European Commission and the Council of Ministers".

    "In tomorrow's Europe, Labour will remain at the vanguard of reform and at the centre of influence."

    "Labour is delivering a better deal for Britain because we know there is no contradiction between standing up for British interests and working with our partners in Europe to solve common problems."



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