UUP support remaining in the European Union

The UUP will join Sinn Fein, SDLP, Alliance and the Greens to argue for Northern Ireland staying within the European Union.

Here is a statement from the party;

The Ulster Unionist Party believes that on balance Northern Ireland is better remaining in the European Union, with the U.K. Government pressing for further reform and a return to the founding principle of free trade, not greater political union. The Party respects that individual members may vote for withdrawal on the 23rd of June.

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  • SDLP supporter

    Smart move by the UUP. It’ll enable them to nibble away at some DUP-supporting “strong farmers”. When it comes to Common Agricultural Policy payments, farms in GB are on average several times larger than on continental Europe and their small size has forced a lot of farmers in France, Germany etc. to diversify into different crops, tourism, etc. Paradoxically, the guaranteed payments to big GB farmers has militated against them diversifying (no incentive). If the UK exits, the Conservatives will look after their big farmer supporters in East Anglia and the shires but they won’t give a toss about NI farmers whose holdings are more akin to the continental model. I have to say that Mike Nesbitt has made some smart calls since he became Leader.

  • Belfast Barman(ager)

    Another shrewd decision. Given that this election will most likely become strongly about the EU, mainstream media coverage will see to that, having such a headline difference between UUP & DUP is going to be invaluable.

    Yet another wise decision by Nesbitt et al.

  • Angry Mob

    “with the U.K. Government pressing for further reform and a return to the founding principle of free trade”

    If that’s what they based their decision on they have made a massive blunder.

  • Kevin Breslin

    I think the UUP are pragmatic Eurosceptics, but given there is some capacity to reform with a new treaty renegotiation (compared to a cobbled together deal that did all it could do without one) and with the migration crisis, emerging markets, new economic challenges the likelihood of a more decentralised EU emerging is likely. This would be as a result of a growing zeitgeist in other EU nations for reforms and the potential that the UK can forge a reasonable causus of nations to push reforms to an EU which is never set in stone.

    It could simply be they are bigger Brexitsceptics than they are Eurosceptics.

  • Ernekid

    There will undoubtedly be a new European treaty before the end of this decade. Likely to occur after the French and German elections in 2017 and 2018. That treaty will be a good chance to shake up the EU and formalise the divisions that have arose between Eurozone and non Eurozone member states. There could be a formation of a ‘core Europe’ and an ‘outer Europe’ with the core Europe element focused in the original Treaty of Rome signatories. It’s in the UKs interests to remain in the EU, as when the treaty process begins in earnest they will have much bigger chance to reform and influence changes in Europe.

    Brexit is an idiotic idea, in so many ways. All it will achieve is political instability

  • Paul Hagan

    Interesting that it’s another “on-balance” argument, the PM’s negotiations have given the UUP some room for manoeuvre. I have no idea if it will any affect on the Assembly elections, though if I had to guess I doubt it. I suspect it’s more likely the EU referendum will be full of local issues rather than the other way around.

    What I find interesting though David is that you’ve said here “UUP will join Sinn Fein, SDLP, Alliance and the Greens to argue for Northern Ireland staying within the European Union” This is the line that the DUP will likely trot-out to annoy their unionist rivals. If a were UUP activist I would argue that the UUP is joining the Tories, LibDems, Labour, Plaid, SNP not to mention the CBI, the Trade Unions, the Church of Scotland and let’s face it the Foreign Office and even Prince William. What will be useful for them as well is what local voices they can count on Ulster Farmer’s Union for example, if they can paint them as being at odds with local opinion on this they might have an opening to make some headway, then again, maybe not.

  • Angry Mob

    Minor point but Prince William never endorsed the EU.

  • Angry Mob

    Ah yeah, associate membership were the UK will become second class citizens in the wider EU project, sounds brilliant.

    The only thing idiotic here is the belief that remaining in the unreformable EU is in our interests, only maintaining access to the single market is in our interest.

  • Kevin Breslin

    Some balances in economies have shifted from the Treaty of Rome days, Poland and Greece for example. So there is a big question of dividing the EU into core and outer zones in a dynamic economic environment, while maintaining non-discrimination of goods, labour and services within that market as much as possible. I cannot see the Eurozone broken up into core and outer core lines.

    A better division might be to have nations like the UK, Finland and Denmark form the outer EU with looser EU obligations and less cooperation and keeping Eurozone countries and aspiring Eurozone countries as the core.

  • Ernekid

    If you want access to the single market then you have to abide by all the rules of the single market. Which if the UK leaves the EU it will have no input on whatsoever. Norway has to abide by all EU rulings but it has no influence on them. How would that be a better outcome for the UK than the current status quo?

    Of course the EU is reformable. It’s just like all large and complex organisations where reform is gradual and it evolves when faced with changing circumstances. The EU isn’t perfect but what large supranational organisation is?

  • Kevin Breslin

    The Leavers in the U.K. desire to treat EU citizens and in particular Eastern European EU citizens as second class citizens within their own borders as a matter of right.

    Why should UK citizens be treated as first class citizens within the EU whether Western EU or Eastern EU if they choose to leave the EU, when other non-EU nationals are not?

    Is the humility that would be expected of British citizens entering the US or Australia be too much if it were the case in France?

  • Angry Mob

    I think it’s a fair compromise and it’s the same if we want to enter any other market in the world, we have to meet the standards set out by the governing bodies. What we don’t need is subverting our own parliament through political union .

    Norway has some say through the EFTA in drafting the regulations, not only this it sits at various world organisations where it has a free vote, free veto and a right to abstain which allows them to draft the rules before the EU even begin to implement them.

    The EU may be in theory capable of reform but it has no history or inclination to do so, not as it strives towards the founding goal of ever closer union.

  • Angry Mob

    I think you’re stereotyping and generalising again.

  • Kevin Breslin

    I’m merely saying “right to discriminate” comes at the price of letting others have the “right to discriminate” against you.

    You may disagree with the stereotype, but the generalisation is absolutely true.

  • Ernekid

    The EU has no history of reform? Blimey Charlie! have you been paying attention to the past 50 years of European history? The EU and its predecessors have undergone constant reform. Just look at Maastricht, Nice, Lisbon and the next EU treaty that’s already working its way down the pipeline.

    Leaving the EU but still obeying to all the rules of the single market is like quitting your Gym membership but you still have to pay your gym fees but now you aren’t allowed to use any of the gym equipment.

    Something that I don’t understand about the Brexiters is that they constantly harp on about the EU influencing the UK but they seem to have no issue with other supranational organisations like the UN, NATO, the WTO, the IMF the ECHR and the Commonwealth impacting on British sovereignty.

  • Angry Mob

    It would be anecdotal fallacy to argue that point, even if say Nigel Farage became the head leave campaigner and the leave vote wins this the government is not compelled to use that specific exit strategy that was used to argue for an exit..

  • Angry Mob

    Reform being subjective; as in changes for the better then clearly not in my opinion as each new treaty brings about further political entanglement rather than focusing on being the trading block that it was originally intended to be, which I could fully support.

    Actually staying in the EU is like paying full gym membership to only go to Tuesday & Thursday nights spin class when you can pay for that on the night separately.

    I have debated with Kevin Breslin about the ECHR and how personally I would be in favour of leaving it and as far the other mentioned organisation go they exert nowhere near the power the EU has over the UK.

  • Dan

    Last vote UUP will ever receive from me.
    Having spoken to some who supported Kinihan, he’s had his last vote from them too.

  • Robin Keogh

    Ido not think there is any surprise here. The days of thinking were nothing more than a cost benifit analysis of how the DUP might use it against them and how the UUP could use their ‘In’ status to out smart the DUP. Arlene has a fight on her hands.

  • NotNowJohnny

    You don’t think that, on balance, Northern Ireland is better remaining in the EU? If so, what do you see as the key benefits for Northern Ireland in the UK leaving the EU?

  • Paul Hagan

    Well, yes, that’s certainly the official line from all concerned but I suspect it may be interpreted differently (perhaps that was the plan) It will be interesting if his Dad or Grandma has anything to say between now and then.

  • Jollyraj

    Well, Rob, what do you yourself think about Brexit? You certainly seem to support the SF pro- staying in Europe stance, as you consistently supported their anti- stance (before the current pro stance). It seems you are equally critical now of DUP for being ‘out’ as you are of the UUP for being ‘in’.

  • Robin Keogh

    I do support SF stance on Europe because it is better for Ireland North and South at tge moment. And just like SF i have been very Euro – critical but not to the point of isolationist. I too believe reforms are necessarry but in the round i would rather advance change from the inside rather than out.

    But, even if I saw brexit as an opportunity to effect Scottish sucession thereby putting a question mark over the future of the six counties under the current status quo

  • Dan

    I make my decision on the EU on what’s best for the United Kingdom as a whole, not whether a few farmers get a handout.
    Regaining control over the nation’s destiny and future is much more important.

  • Greenflag 2

    “as far the other mentioned organisation go they exert nowhere near the power the EU has over the UK.”

    Wrong . NATO can force the UK into war -the EU can’t .
    As for the EU becoming a full political union ? There have been some lessons learned over the past few years as a result of the financial crisis -Greece -Spain Portugal etc . Angela Merkel for example is NOT pushing for political union and neither are other EU leaders .

    It could be the ‘outer regions ‘ of the UK on referendum day ( i.e Scotland / Northern Ireland/Wales etc that make the difference and keep the UK from becoming LIttle England . Historically although in much less democratic times this will not be the first time either .

  • Angry Mob

    Wrong. Nato works by consensus, the common position of all nations are taken into account before action is taken, if the UK or any other nation disagrees then it will not happen. Also, the EU desires an army so if we remain in it could in the future force us into a war.

    As for Merkel:
    We need more Europe. We don’t only need monetary union, we also need a so-called fiscal union,” she said. “And most of all we need a political union – which means we need to gradually cede powers to Europe and give Europe control.”
    I won’t even go onto further leaders as its easy to find similar quotes.

  • Greenflag 2

    Nobody has ever forced the UK into a war without it’s consent . On the other hand the UK has often gone to war on it’s own account without the consent of others . Has anything changed ?

    I don’t know when Merkel made that comment but if you read her recent to date biography you would find she understands that the EU is made up of nation states and that they are not going away .

    There has been a change in German and other EU nations attitudes towards the democratic practicability of a European political union -single state model and this change is ongoing since the financial crisis . The economic convergence of Northern and Southern Europe will be a pre requisite to any further political union .

  • Kevin Breslin

    As I’ve pointed out on Twitter, the biggest difference between this and the Good Friday Agreement (other than significantly more Tories in opposition) is that David Trimble is not on the side of UUP, Sinn Fein, SDLP, Alliance and the Greens. Of course I’m not sure if the PUP have declared a side.

  • Ben De Hellenbacque

    Oh the joy of being partial (at least publically)!

  • Jollyraj

    So isolationism of the UK from Europe would be a bad thing, but isolationism of a new brave Ireland from the UK would be a good thing?

  • Robin Keogh

    What would you suggest?

  • Ernekid

    Why would a united Ireland mean isolation from the UK? If anything I’d improve Ireland’s relationship with Britain as itd get rid of all the awkwardness regarding the North.

  • Ernekid

    You do realise that most regions of the UK are net beneficiaries from EU investment and it’s only the English South East that pays in more than it receives

  • Jollyraj

    Doubtful. Your thinking on the scenario completely fails to consider the most of the population of NI whom don’t want to be annexed by Ireland. And what kind of precedent would it set if the UK began ceding chunks of territory on spurious claims?

  • Jollyraj

    I always see it as a mixed bag. I think on balance it is good to be in Europe, but we need tighter controls on some aspects. One size doesn’t fit all, not just for the UK but for many countries. Some aspects of Brexit appeal, like a tightening of the border with Ireland – if only because forcing Republicans to abandon childish fantasies that the border doesn’t exist would be a good thing as we could work on the future on realistic foundations. Cutting down on the grotesque amount of IRA organized crime along the border would also help both countries, though whomever benefits from the proceeds of that crime would be furious of course.

  • Ernekid

    Reunification by a democratic island wide majority vote isn’t annexation. Grow up

  • Robin Keogh

    Well the ‘ fantasy’ as you call it will remain regardless, as it has always done, in fact it would most likely harden the ‘fantasy’. However it is highly unlikely that Brexit would deliver a ‘hard’ border betwen North and South, logistically it would be a nightmare. Many have pointed out – including Mike Nesbitt – that a hard border is far more likely to be created on GB, meaning all of Ireland would face the same scrutiny and checks into GB as those travelling from France and Germany. Further Isolating the six counties from the UK.

    Organized crime is a curse to be sure and it can only be successfully challenged on an all island basis. Moves are alredy afoot between the Northern and Southern Dails to enhance anti crime cooperation. Criminals are not bothered by borders real or imaginery, in fact the existence of two different currencies and the value fluctuations up and down is one of the main reasons such criminals – who are scum in my view – tend to be so prosperous.

  • Jollyraj

    I agree with your views on criminals, and I naturally include the diversified former IRA members in that – both when they were IRA and now that they are, as Gerry says, “ordinary, decent” criminals. Am I safe in assuming you only consider the latter class as scum? I also, like you, tend to favour the UK remaining in Europe.

  • Jollyraj

    I don’t think you’ve understood the GFA.

  • Angry Mob

    Do you have a source for those figures please?

  • Graham Parsons

    Which is a round about way of saying you don’t like foreigners. Or is the colloquial term “ethnics” among you exiters?

  • Graham Parsons

    I think the biggest blunder would be to put your job at risk by voting for exit.

  • Angry Mob

    Or maybe the biggest blunder one could make on a personal capacity is not to seek out the arguments against EU membership but rely on collective groupthink and FUD to form an opinion.

  • Graham Parsons

    As I’ve said before basing a decision on FUD is entirely valid. Especially so when there is no coherent alternative argument.

  • NotNowJohnny

    ‘Regaining control over the nation’s destiny’ all sounds very grand until you start to wonder what it actually means. What is the UK’s destiny anyway? The fact that irrespective of whether the UK stays in or leaves the EU, it is the people of Scotland and the people of Ireland (north and south) who will ultimately decide the UK’s destiny by exercising their vote in future referenda and not the U.K. Parliament.

  • Angry Mob

    You can base it upon FUD but as we see it leads to poor decisions. There are coherent arguments if you really wanted to go and look for them.

  • Robin Keogh

    I don’t tend to dip into the past as much as yourself. I tend to judge events including criminal activity within the context of when and why they occur. If we were a collapsed society with widespread deprivation or ingrained repression then we can expect high levels of crime or civil unrest as is the hobbiesian consequence of chaos, disorder or instability. Today we live in an imperfect country but there is nothing that can explain the kind of gang style criminal behaviour that appears to be poisoning our society.