THE European Union often seems remote but it plays an increasingly large role in all of our lives.

This month, at the European elections we have a chance to have a say in shaping its future.

The EU needs substantial reform so that Britain's national interests are better served.

This is why it is vital that people use their vote in the European Elections in a fortnight's time.

Many of the rules governing vital industries such as financial services, transport and fisheries originate in Europe and we have to ensure that they are designed in the interests of the UK.

I want Scotland, as part of the UK, to be part of a new deal that renews our relationship with Europe.

We need a better deal for Scottish taxpayers, continued control over our borders, greater control over justice and home affairs, and possibly most important of all - saying 'no' to the euro.

However, we can only achieve this by having a strong voice in Europe.

The SNP wish to separate Scotland from the UK.

This could mean the loss of hard won deals that guarantee benefits to us right now, such as our rebate, our opt-out from the euro, and VAT exemptions on goods such as children's clothes.

We have a stark choice in Scotland this year.

If Scots vote to separate from the UK it will mean that instead of being within Europe and fighting for the best deal for all our citizens, we could suddenly be on the outside waiting in the queue to join.

Polls show that nearly 60% of Scots want a referendum on our membership of the EU.

Anybody who is under the age of 56 has had no opportunity to have any say in whether Europe is the correct path for us.

I believe the only fair and democratic solution is to offer a referendum on Europe and allow the citizens of the UK to make an informed decision for themselves.

Other political parties seem reluctant to listen to the people of Scotland.

Despite holding a referendum on separation from the UK, the SNP are ignoring the wishes of their supporters by saying they shouldn't have the same say in a referendum on Europe.

Alex Salmond has admitted that the EU requires reform, but instead of pushing for that reform from the inside, he pursues policies which could see Scots leaving the EU without having any say in the matter.

I BELIEVE in a Union of European nations, but it must be an EU which works in the interests of all its citizens.

That means working to enhance the benefits we can take from deals with other member states and being prepared to take back powers when they are against our interests.

Once we have successfully argued for a better deal - we need to put that deal to the people of Scotland in a European referendum.

Only the Scottish Conservatives trust the people to have their say on Europe.