Apart from a few years in the middle-east, I've lived my whole life in europe; the great majority in britain. I am a european, both from conviction and pragmatism. Europe, of which the uk remains such an important part, is helping forge a new way forward for the world. It is a lighthouse of how old enemies can become not just new allies, but so closely bound and integrated that their future prosperity depends on them hanging ever closer together. At its best, europe brings real benefits from bigger and freer flowing markets, economies of scale, the circulation of best practice and safety in numbers. I have written a lot about europe, mainly in my guise of new europe, and you can read it all here. Watch the clip, by oscar-winning producer alice doyard

when ministers meet (October 2007)

[with Wim van Aken] Despite its national composition, the Council is a single 'European institution'. Indeed, the Treaty gives it the most powerful role of any institution. It is the leading voice in most EU decisions. It is also the most important wheel in the Union's legislative process...