UK Labour leader Miliband vows to end 'isolationism' on EU
LONDON - Agence France-Presse
AFP PhotoBritish Labour party leader Ed Miliband is to vow to end the country's "small-minded isolationist" attitude to Europe if he becomes prime minister after an election in two weeks' time.
In April 24 speech, the left-leaning party leader is to accuse Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron of risking Britain's national interests by giving in to eurosceptics, according to pre-released remarks.
"David Cameron has presided over the biggest loss of influence for our country in a generation," Miliband is to say in a speech at think tank Chatham House in London.
"It is time to reject the small-minded isolationism that has characterised this government."
"Because this government's approach has and weakened Britain at a time when the challenges are perhaps greater and more complex than at any time since the Second World War."
Foreign policy has been little debated in the campaign ahead for the May 7 vote aside from references to immigration, something the Labour Party said showed the "growing insularity of British politics".
In the speech, Miliband is to describe Cameron's absence from peace talks on the Ukraine crisis between French, German, Russian and Ukrainian leaders as an "apt symbol of Britain's isolation and waning influence".
Miliband's Labour party and Cameron's centre-right Conservatives are neck-and-neck in polls, but on April 23 the main betting shop firms made Miliband their favourite to become prime minister for the first time.
Advocating a "hard-headed multilateralism", Miliband will accuse Cameron of capitulating to the anti-EU, anti-immigration UK Independence Party by promising a referendum on Britain's membership of the bloc in 2017 if he is re-elected prime minister.
"He has taken us to the edge of European exit because he has been too weak to control his own party and too anxious about the rise of UKIP, a rise he could and should have challenged, but pandered to instead," Miliband will say.
"I want a clear message to be sent to our European partners that an incoming Labour government will be serious about leading once again in Europe and serious also about reforming Europe."
"Leaving Europe would be profoundly damaging to the lives or our people and the future of our country. We will never put our national interest at risk by threatening to leave."
An former energy minister of Polish Jewish descent, Miliband is to stress the importance of learning from past military interventions and blames a crisis of migrants dying in the Mediterranean on poor post-conflict planning after the 2011 military intervention in Libya.
"Legitimate interventions must be supported by international, regional and local players, carried out with a clearly defined strategy, as well as include a comprehensive transition and post conflict strategy," he will say.
The Conservative party did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Neither the Conservative nor the Labour party is expected to win an outright majority in the election, meaning they will have to rely on the support of smaller parties in order to govern.