European Conservatives and Reformists Group leader Martin Callanan’s New Year Message for 2014
“We continued to grow, and our agenda of major reform is now at the heart of the European debate.
“People are no longer resigned to the orthodoxy that the EU’s direction of travel is one way: inexorably towards a federal super state.
“Instead, people are asking what kind of EU do we want? Should more decisions be made in Brussels, or can those powers be decentralised closer to the people? Where does the EU add value, and where do its actions stifle growth and undermine national sovereignty?
“In 2014, we will build on the debate that we helped to start. We will offer a distinctive choice in this May’s elections. We will be the only political force in Europe that argues for a third way for the EU: not breakup, nor a super state; but more flexibility, less interference and a more practical approach to what Europe should do. We call this approach euro realism: based on common sense and what works, rather than ideological dogma. This has been the approach our Members have adopted in the work of the parliament, with our MEPs working across the committees to deliver practical, light-touch legislation.
“We believe that this is the right approach for Europe that will make it more relevant, more economically vibrant, and focused on delivering for the governments and peoples of Europe. We will go into the elections saying that if you want to see the EU taken in a new direction then only the ECR can offer that agenda.
“2013 was the year when it became fashionable to talk about EU reform. In 2014 our priority will be to begin delivering that reform.
“I wish you a Happy New Year and a healthy and prosperous 2014.”