AN EAST Lancashire member of the European Parliament has welcomed the 40th anniversary of Britain joining the EU.

Liberal Democrat representative Chris Davies said that EU membership had helped to maintain British influence in a fast-changing world.

He said: “We applied to join late because politicians realised that Britain was being left behind and losing influence.

“The EU remains for now the largest trading bloc in the world and I believe the UK has contributed a great deal to make it more prosperous.

“Twenty-five years ago some of our closest partners were still communist dictatorships within the Soviet Union.

“We were fearful of the future and spending a fortune on defending ourselves from a real threat of attack.

“The contrast with today could hardly be greater.”

The MEP claimed that EU rules and regulations had improved the environment and made life better and safer for the majority.

He said: “There are many things I want to change, but that is true of rules made in London as well as those from Brussels.”