Arts world puts its weight behind Europe

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The Independent Online
A group of celebrities including film director Sir David Puttnam and Sir Peter Ustinov (right), have signed up to a campaign to highlight the benefits of European Union membership.

Their backing has lent fresh momentum to the Europe 97 campaign, which was launched in March to promote a positive view of Europe in the run- up to the general election.

With the Amsterdam summit on closer EU integration a fortnight away, supporters write in a letter published in The Independent today about the cultural and economic advantages of membership. Other high-profile names associated with the campaign include Michael Ignatieff, Sir Terence Conran, Eddie Izzard, and Barry Norman.

Europe 97 was launched by the European Movement, an all-party group founded by Winston Churchill in 1948 to promote closer co-operation with Europe after the Second World War.

In their letter, the supporters write: "We believe that to turn our backs on Europe now would be to set our faces against both the lessons of history and the best prospects for our future."

t Sir James Goldsmith, arch opponent of Brussels and leader of the Referendum Party, has been taken to a hospital near Paris suffering from a recurrence of pancreatic cancer.

Kathy Marks

Letters, page 14