A referendum on the UK's membership of the EU is a vital opportunity to create a more democratic and accountable Europe - with a clearer purpose for the future, said the Green MP today.
Caroline Lucas, MP for Brighton Pavilion, has tabled an amendment to the Conservative Backbench motion for a referendum on the UK's membership of the EU, calling for ‘radical reform of the EU' to increase transparency and give Member States more control over their economies (1).
Speaking ahead of the Commons vote on Monday, Lucas said:
"I support a referendum on our membership of the EU because I am pro-democracy, not because I'm anti-EU - and because I want to see a radical reform of the way Europe operates.
"The EU has the potential to spread peace and make our economies more sustainable, and to promote democracy and human rights, at home and throughout the world.
"But it must urgently change direction, away from an obsessive focus on competition and free trade and towards placing genuine co-operation and environmental sustainability at its heart.
"Thanks to the bureaucratic and remote way which the EU works, many people today are no longer sure what is it for. So the challenge now is to make those institutions more democratic and accountable - and to develop a more compelling vision of the EU's role and purpose.
"A referendum would allow the space for that debate about the future of the Union to occur, and to ensure that the goals of the European project really are in the best interests of EU citizens."
1) Caroline Lucas's full amendment to Mr David Nuttall's proposed Motion (National Referendum on the European Union):
(d) seek to build support for radical reform of the EU, increasing its transparency and accountability, refocusing its objectives on co-operation and environmental sustainability rather than competition and free trade, and enabling member states to exercise greater control over their own economies.