FIRST elected as MEP in 1999, Geoffrey van Orden has consistently opposed European political integration, in particular EU meddling in defence. He wants to use opportunities from the single market and other laws to ensure that our local businesses and citizens get the best deal and to prevent unhelpful legislation. He attaches particular importance to ensuring that so-called 'EU funds' coming to the East of England (effectively British taxpayers’ money recycled through Brussels) are more accessible and better spent.
He is a former senior British Army officer with wide international and operational experience, particularly in the field of counter-terrorism. His last military appointment was at NATO Headquarters. He understands the vital importance to Britain of our close relationship with the United States. He takes a strong interest in the British Armed Forces and has visited our troops both locally and on active service in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Geoffrey is Conservative Spokesman on Defence and Security Policy and a former Vice Chairman of the Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee. He currently sits on the Foreign Affairs Committee and Security and Defence Subcommittee, and is also a member of the Transport Committee and delegations to countries such as Turkey, India, and Iran.
He was instrumental in the creation of the new political Group in the Parliament, the European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR), to which Conservative MEPs now belong and which challenges the EU orthodoxy. He drew up the Prague Declaration, which sets out the founding principles of the Group, and currently sits on its governing Bureau. He is founding President of its associated think-tank, New Direction –The Foundation for European Reform.