President Hollande Warns of Dangers if UK Leave the EU

Conférence des Nations unies sur les changements climatiques - COP21 (Paris, Le Bourget)

President Hollande of France has issued a stark warning of the dangers of the UK leaving the European Union just hours after the French Minister for the Economy warned that the current border agreement could be changed.

Hollande said:

“There will be consequences if the UK is to leave the EU, there will be consequences in many areas, in the single market, in the financial trade, in development, in the economic development between our two countries. It doesn’t mean that everything will be destroyed, I don’t want to give you catastrophic scenarios, but there will be consequences”.

David Cameron, the Prime Minister, said:

“The best thing to do is to listen to the arguments, to listen to what people are saying, and to understand some of the risks and some of the uncertainties about leaving the European Union”.

Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London who supports Brexit, launched a fierce attack on French Ministers and said:

“It’s just the usual flapping and scaremongering”.

Jo Johnson Opposes his Brother Boris’s Vote Leave Stance

jojohnson

Jo Johnson, the Minister of State for Universities and Science, has come out against his brother’s stance to support a British exit for the European Union.

Writing for the Financial Times the Science Minister said:

“Anyone who wants to know whether we should leave the EU should speak to Boris. I mean, of course, the vice-chancellor of the University of Cambridge, Professor Sir Leszek Borysiewicz.

This city by the Fens has been a centre of scholarship for more than 8 centuries, long before the EU and many of its member states even existed. Monks and scholars flocked here from Paris, Bologna and Salamanca in the Middle Ages and, over the years, our own benefited from reciprocal hospitality across Europe.

Today, these continental networks are deeper than ever and help explain why this university has more Nobel Prizes to its name – 92 – than any other institution. They also play a part in its success in turning research into good business. With more than 1,500 technology companies, employing nearly 60,000 people, it is the most successful innovation cluster in Europe.

The big question, then, for Boris is how much of this success is due to our membership of the EU? Let us be clear: Britain has been a science superpower since the dawn of the Enlightenment and our scientific temper will help us thrive either way. The issue, though, is whether we would be as strong as we could be, without the funding and the partnerships that we gain through the EU.

European research funding offers a good example of how the EU can get things right – and of how the UK benefits from a seat at the table when the rules are framed in Brussels. We have successfully argued for EU research money only to flow to where the best science is done, regardless of geography or pork barrel pressures. And because of the excellence of our research base, we end up winning an outsized slice of EU research programmes.

The UK puts in about 12% of all EU funding yet wins about 15% of research funding, making us one of the largest beneficiaries of EU science programmes. In the latest funding round, we have to date secured 15.4%, second only behind Germany.

Britain’s universities flourish under this system. Cambridge topped the list of EU universities for participations in the most recent funding programme. And Oxford, Imperial College London and University College London occupied the next three positions.

Some argue that non-EU countries also benefit from EU science. But there is a big difference. They may be part of the European Research Area but they do not sit at the table when the European Council or Parliament set rules or decide budgets.

Of course, British scientists will be able to call for support from the UK government. Indeed, since 2010 we have protected the science budget at a time of significant savings elsewhere. But we should not pretend that replacing these rich additional European funding streams would be easy.

To keep our knowledge factories winning Nobel Prizes, we must in addition recognise that research is rarely a solitary undertaking or even a narrowly national one. Around half of UK research publications now involve cross-border collaborations. And EU countries are among our most crucial partners, representing nearly half of our overseas collaborations. Free movement of people makes it easier for our universities to attract the best talent.

I am not suggesting that Brexit would reverse 8 centuries of progress, returning ‘Silicon Fen’ to marshland. But those who want Britain to leave the EU must explain how they will sustain the same levels of investment and the same depth of partnership under different circumstances.

A vote to leave would be a leap into the dark that would put our status as a science superpower at risk. That is why I will be joining Boris in making a positive case for Britain’s future in a reformed EU”.

David Cameron Puts Forward Case in Commons for EU Renegotiation

davidcameron

David Cameron, the Prime Minister, has put forwards his case in the House of Commons for supporting his EU renegotiation bid. The full text of his statement is available here.

Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London, asked the Prime Minister:

“How will this negotiation restrict the volume of legislation coming from Brussels, will it change the treaties so as to assert the authority of this House of Commons and of these Houses of Parliament?”

The Prime Minister replied

“I am not saying this is perfect, I am not saying the European Union will be perfect after this deal – it certainly won’t be – but will the British position be stronger and better? Yes it will”.

Jeremy Corbyn, the Leader of the Opposition, said that he backed staying in the UK but he was critical of the “smoke and mirrors way” the Prime Minister had gone about the negotiations. He added:

“The Labour party is committed to keeping Britain in the European Union because we believe it is the best framework for European trade and co-operation in the 21st century, and in the best interests of people in this country. We believe that the Prime Minister has been negotiating the wrong goals in the wrong way for the wrong reasons”.

Kenneth Clarke, the former Chancellor of the Exchequer, said in the debate:

“The Prime Minister has achieved more on the big issues in this negotiation than I ever expected—and, I suspect, more than the hard-line Eurosceptics ever expected, which is why they are denouncing it so fiercely—but, as he says, he still has to deliver it”.

Boris Johnson calls for intervention in Syria

borisjohnson

Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London, has said that intervention in Syria is necessary to tackle the issue of asylum seekers fleeing the country.

Referring to the destruction of the Palmyra temple complex Johnson wrote for the Daily Telegraph:

“It has survived every conqueror and every invasion in a region famed for the brutality of its invaders. No one has been so moronic and vile as to destroy an object that so adorned our collective civilisation – no one until Daesh, or Isil, or whatever we want to call them. People feel instinctively that these buildings stand for something remarkable – the willingness of one civilisation to learn from another, to adopt architectural styles, to blend, to merge – to enjoy and accept and build on the legacy of the past. This annihilated temple was consecrated to Baal – the god of the Phoenicians – but it was respected by Greeks, by Romans, by Jews, and by Arabs of all denominations”.

He added:

“I perfectly accept that intervention has not often worked. It has been a disaster in Iraq; it has been a disaster in Libya. But can you honestly say that non-intervention in Syria has been a success? If we keep doing nothing about the nightmare in Syria, then frankly we must brace ourselves for an eternity of refugees, more people suffocating in airless cattle trucks at European motorway service stations, more people trying to climb the barbed wire that we are building around the European Union”.