19th January 2015


The recently revived Hampshire branch of European Movement held its first meeting at The Castle on Friday evening (16th January).  Winchester City Councillor Robert Johnston opened the meeting by welcoming everyone and introducing the speaker, Cllr Roy Perry, Leader of Hampshire County Council and a Vice President of the Branch.

Cllr Perry, began by talking about Winchester's long history of European involvement. Among the examples he quoted was King Canute who was from Denmark and whose remains lie in the Cathedral, the first of a long line of British monarchs originally born and raised in Europe.
He then gave a quick overview of the post war development of Europe and the way in which Britain had first joined. As an MEP from 1994 - 2004 Cllr Perry was able to draw on much of his own experience and reminded the audience how Britain has made a very real contribution to the development of the EU and the leading role played by Conservative Prime Ministers.  He said he recognised the need for future reform but pointed out that this has been possible in the past for example when reform of the Common Agricultural Policy became necessary because of the large surpluses being produced.

Turning to Hampshire's ties to Europe he referred to the County Council's membership of the Assembly of European Regions as an example of Hampshire being an outward, forward thinking authority willing to forge links and learn from the experience of our continental neighbours. Every year the Council is able to benefit from the receipt of several million pounds of EU grants.
Europe is by far Hampshire's largest export market with exports worth almost £20bn each year. Many leading European businesses have offices and operations in the county with aerospace being one of the leading industrial segments as several Tier 1 Airbus suppliers have plants in the county.  Southampton Airport trades almost exclusively with our European neighbours.  Another example was that of Belgian owned Aegeas, sponsors of the Rose Bowl.
Following his talk there was a lively discussion with members observing how important European students and visitors are to the Universities in Southampton and Winchester as well as to the local tourist trade. In addition European migrants are an essential component of the local workforce, especially in the health and hospitality sectors.

Cllr Johnston thanked Roy and said he was delighted to see such a large turn out for the first meeting.  

The next meeting will be held on the 12th February in Eastleigh and the speaker will be Laura Sandys MP who was recently elected as the new Chairman of the European Movement nationally. Those interested in attending should contact the Branch by emailing hantsem2017@yahoo.co.uk   The web site for the European Movement can be found at www.euromove.org.uk

Issued: Monday 19.01.2015

Notes to Editors.

The European Movement is a grass-roots, cross-party organisation that aims to inform and educate the public about the benefits of Britain remaining in the European Union.

The  Hampshire Branch of the European Movement was revived at an AGM in Novemebr 2014 when Clly Robert Johnston was elected as the new Chairman.

The Hampshire Branch has recently experienced a rapid growth in members and supporters as the possibility of a future referendum on Britain’s membership has increased.

For further details please contact:-

Chairman: Robert Johnston  robert.johnston50@ntlworld.com  01962 620610 or 07836 768460

Events Organiser:  Mike Biden  mike.biden@hotmail.com   01962 861350  or  07876 656954