Public stakeholders event in London
On January 20th Policy Network hosted a private roundtable and a public event to discuss the New Pact for Europe’s second report. The events marked the UK launch of the report. They were held in Westminster (London).
The public debate took the form of a short panel discussion followed by Q&As from the audience. It was attended by approx. 100 people from political, administrative, business and student backgrounds. The panel brought together Pat McFadden, Labour spokesman on Europe; Laura Sandys, Conservative member of parliament and chair of the European Movement UK; and George Parker, former FT Brussels correspondent; and Roger Liddle, chair of Policy Network.
All speakers stressed the quality of the New Pact for Europe report, and found its recommendations useful. They criticised David Cameron’s strategy to seek a renegotiation of EU treaties by threatening to leave the EU. One recurring theme in the audience’s remarks was the poor level of public knowledge about the EU and the need for more direct contacts with MEPs. In this context, any “grand project” would not reassure but rather aggravate negative perceptions about the EU, especially if it failed to deliver.