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Tuesday, May 25, 1999 Published at 13:42 GMT 14:42 UK


Liberal Party



The Liberal Party's vision of Europe is for a Commonwealth of Europe.

The Liberal Party

Manifesto: "No to the EU and the euro - Yes to a Commonwealth of Europe."

The Liberal Party:

  • Wishes to create a democratic and diverse Commonwealth of Europe by withdrawal from, and replacement of, the present European Union.
  • Opposes the Maastricht Treaty.
  • Opposes the European single currency and standardisation of taxes.
  • Seeks to restore to voters the power to choose between candidates which was taken from them by the Labour government's introduction of an undemocratic party list system of proportional representation for these elections.

    "We will work with others throughout Europe to replace the EU with a 'Commonwealth of Europe' which would not include moves towards a single economy. We would therefore be able to welcome all the nations of Europe into membership at an early date, including the new democracies of central and eastern Europe."

    Liberal priorities for a Commonwealth of Europe:

  • A guarantee of human rights.
  • A real commitment to take into account the needs of poorer nations.
  • Action to clean up the environment.
  • The development of alternative sources of energy.
  • Peacemaking.
  • Action on animal welfare at a European level.

    Democracy

  • The European Parliament should appoint the European Commission.
  • The Parliament should be the main decision-making body with the unfettered power to amend legislation.
  • The single transferable vote electoral system, as used in Northern Ireland, should be extended to the whole of the UK.

    Peace

  • Abandonment of nuclear and other weapons of indiscriminate destruction such as aerial bombardment.
  • An end to the arms trade.
  • Transfer of commitment and resources from military to non-military methods of resolving conflict.

    The euro

  • Rejection of the single currency and economy as impractical and dangerous.
  • Amendments to the application process to make access to EU grants quicker and easier, especially for small businesses.
  • Stricter measures to limit monopolies and to monitor the activities of multinational companies.

    The environment

  • The establishment of a "pollution police force".
  • A "green audit" of all EU policy and practice.
  • A comprehensive research programme into alternative sources of energy.
  • More extensive "eco-labelling" of products to help consumers to make informed choices.

    Agriculture and fishing

  • Replacement of the Common Agricultural Policy by a simpler and cheaper scheme to subsidise organic farming and encourage less intensive methods.
  • Reform of the Common Fisheries Policy with a system based on fishing zones. Larger mesh sizes and the banning of long drift nets.
  • A European Centre for agriculture and fisheries education and research.

    Animal welfare

  • Implementation of at least the standards in the Brambell Report on farming methods.
  • Stricter controls over the transport of animals and a complete ban on the export of live animals for slaughter.
  • The phasing out of laboratory experiments on live animals.

    Transport policies

  • The Common Transport Policy to emphasise environmentally-friendly methods of transport.
  • Scrap plans for a Trans-European Road Network and work to re-establish canal and rail networks.
  • EU transport policy to incorporate Europe-wide minimum standards of air quality.

    Overseas development

  • An EU joint aid programme at a level sufficient to bring the EU as a whole up to the UN target.
  • A European Commission investigation into the impact on poorer countries of all EU policies.
  • Reform of the World Trade Organisation to take proper account of the needs of poorer countries.



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