Everyone knows that members of the Liberal Democrats are pro-Europe. There are many reasons why this is the case. The party has a long-standing international tradition. It supports free trade and the removal of protectionist barriers. The party is a product of a merger between the Liberal party and the SDP. The SDP founders left Labour because of that party’s anti-European position. And finally, there is a practical side that says it is better to be part of an organisation that impacts on how the UK operates than trying to influence that entity from the outside.
The recent Euro zone crisis has led many Euro-sceptics to argue that the Euro will be dead soon and that possibly the whole European project is coming to an end.
Nick Clegg has said made the case that the rules that were meant to apply to countries joining the Euro were not implemented. If they had been, he believes, the problems we are facing may have been avoided.
It is doubtful that this technical point will be enough to win over those voters who are beginning to question how things are being run in the EU.
Clegg has talked in the past of making the EU more liberal. Now would be a good time to set out what that means and what the party is going to do to try and influence European policymakers so that the EU pursues a more liberal policy agenda.
Offering voters a reforming liberal agenda for Europe would help differentiate the party and develop Clegg’s liberal narrative.