Naomi says Alliance would not back any EU referendum

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Alliance will oppose any potential ‘in-out’ referendum on Europe in the next Parliament, its East Belfast Westminster candidate Naomi Long has said.

Mrs Long said Northern Ireland and the UK’s membership of the European Union (EU) was an important boost to our economy, with any potential withdrawal having a “devastating” impact on the community and voluntary sector, as well as our ability to attract inward investment and grow our exports.

“Alliance is pro-European and positive about the role the EU can play in Northern Ireland. Not only has it broken down barriers between people, promoting the Alliance values of overcoming division on a Europe-wide scale, but it is also of huge importance to our economy.

“Northern Ireland would be worse-off if the UK left the EU. We are attracting foreign direct investment as an English-speaking gateway to the continent, given our strong ties to the UK and Republic of Ireland.

“If we faced a situation where the UK was to leave the EU, it would jeopardise both current and future investment. The EU would continue to make decisions which would affect us but we would no longer have any say.

“The uncertainty of an in-out referendum itself would make international businesses wary of making significant investment until the question was settled, slowing down growth and damaging the economy.

“We recognise the EU needs reformed to make it more effective, efficient and transparent, however, our best chance of achieving that change is to remain committed to the EU and work with other countries to deliver it.”