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Civitas sets out EU membership reform

Britain’s membership within the EU must be “fundamentally reshaped” to best serve the country’s commercial interests, think tank Civitas has argued in a new report.

The report sets out policy proposals on sovereignty over trade, agriculture and fishing, and calls for smaller groups of EU nations to be allowed to sign up to free trade deals with the rest of the world.

Other suggestions include securing the ability to veto legislation affecting financial service and the City of London, restoring control of employment and social regulation to Westminster and the right to restrict welfare payments to nationals from accession countries until they have a record of tax contributions in the UK.

Policy analyst at Civitas Glyn Gaskarth said: “Negotiations must be evidence based. They cannot succeed if the UK does not have a firm idea of what it desires and what it is willing to accept.

“Having a firm idea of UK aims makes it more likely that the renegotiation process will succeed. If UK proposals are rebuffed or watered down those seeking a UK exit will be emboldened. The EU would be shown to be inflexible and incapable of reform.”

He added: “The rejection of a trade deal by one EU member state should not prevent other EU member states that have approved the trade deal from proceeding. Trade deals would proceed on the basis of an agreement between the countries that approved the trade deal and the non-EU trade partner.

“This would fundamentally change the whole nature of the EU. It may not be accepted by all EU members but it should be a UK aim. This proposal will restore democratic control to UK trade relations.”

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