Lucy Thomas is campaign director of Business for New Europe, says Yes
The Prime Minister’s task is daunting, but achievable. He has secured a mandate for his approach and he now has the chance to secure real reform. His priorities should be delivering a cut to red tape, ensuring EU institutions are more streamlined, and getting a greater say for national parliaments. These objectives are within his grasp, and if he handles the negotiations skilfully then Britain can secure backing from European leaders. But these negotiations will take months not days, and throughout the Prime Minister must not be afraid to call out those who ignore the facts on what a British exit would really look like. Nearly half of our trade is with other EU countries, and the “outers” cannot say how British businesses would be affected by any of their scenarios for exit. So at a time when we still face a challenging economic climate, it makes no sense to put jobs and investment in the UK at risk by walking away from Europe.
Brian Monteith is communications director of Global Britain, says No
While I say Godspeed and good luck to the Prime Minister – for any improvement in the UK’s membership terms of the European Union can only be a good thing – real politik tells us that he is unlikely to achieve sufficient reform that is in any way meaningful. What we can expect is that the agenda will be dominated, first, by the Eurozone’s Greek crisis – which threatens so many of the countries sitting around the table – and then the Mediterranean refugee crisis, which presents real human problems for every nation, whether in or out of the Schengen agreement. “Sufficient reform” must mean leaving the Common Agricultural and Fisheries policies, which increase the cost of food to British consumers and deliver poverty to people in the Third World, reducing the UK’s net annual contribution of £15bn, which will only continue to grow, and regaining control of our own borders. Cameron’s agenda includes none of these, so how can it be “sufficient”?