Keeping our people safe at home and abroad, and moulding the world in the way that we want – more peaceful, more stable, more free, with the arteries of commerce and trade flowing freely.
That is our national interest in a nutshell – and it’s the question that has confronted every British prime minister since the office was created: how do we best advance Britain’s interests in the circumstances of the day?
If my experience as Prime Minister had taught me that our membership of the EU was holding Britain back or undermining our global influence, I would not hesitate to recommend that we should leave.
But my experience is the opposite. The reason that I want Britain to stay in a reformed EU is in part because of my experience over the last 6 years is that it does help make our country better off, safer and stronger.
And there are 4 reasons why this is the case.
What happens in Europe affects us, whether we like it or not, so we must be strong in Europe if we want to be strong at home and in the world.
The dangerous international situation facing Britain today, means that the closest possible cooperation with our European neighbours isn’t an optional extra – it is essential. We need to stand united. Now is a time for strength in numbers.
Keeping our people safe from modern terrorist networks like Daesh and from serious crime that increasingly crosses borders means that we simply have to develop much closer means of security cooperation between countries within Europe. Britain needs to be fully engaged with that.
Far from Britain’s influence in the world being undermined by our membership of the EU, it amplifies our power, like our membership of the UN or of NATO. It helps us achieve the things we want – whether it is fighting Ebola in Africa, tackling climate change, taking on the people smugglers. That’s not just our view; it’s the view of our friends and allies, too.
Let’s not walk away from the EU, any more than we would walk away from the UN, or from NATO. We’re bigger than that.
Instead, let us remain, let us fight our corner, let us play the part we should, as a great power in the world, and a great and growing power in Europe.
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