Labour’s Federal Agenda for Europe

European unity has always had a certain appeal for the Left. To the ideals of international solidarity and co-operation among workers is added the attraction of a “social Europe”. This has removed one of the greatest difficulties faced by socialist planners: that of competition from more efficient economies. A Portuguese worker will not be able to undercut a German if they both have identical bargaining rights, holidays, employment conditions, working hours and, ultimately, wages. Both will remain uncompetitive in the wider world, but socialists believe that the European Union represents a large enough home market for this not to matter. They also believe that the EU is insulating itself from the rest of the world and that its combined negotiating strength is sufficient to force other countries to trade with it on its own terms.

European Research Group - Saturday, 26th October, 1996