UKIP Uncovered
What motivates the leaders of the United Kingdom Independence Party?

Sunday, December 11, 2005 

Daniel Hannan MEP prepares for life beyond the EPP!

Read a report on 'The Congress of Brussels' by Eurosoc linked here.

That blog, like mine has little belief in Cameron's determination to leave the EPP, much more likely he will heed the siren voices such as those of Portillo in today's Sunday Timeslinked here , from which this is a quote:

"...But the new Europe is just as intolerant of British antipathy towards the European ideal.

Perhaps David Cameron should ponder that. He intends to withdraw the Conservative members of the European parliament from the transnational right-of-centre group of parties to which they are affiliated. Admittedly the group contains European federalists whose views are different from Cameron’s. But who cares about the European parliament and is withdrawal worth the fuss? It will send a clear message but not a useful one for a leader who wishes to signal how much his party is changing. Cameron’s unique selling point is optimism. That sits uncomfortably with being unnecessarily negative about Europe.

It would boost his credibility to be feted in European capitals, especially as the Tories (now lukewarm about Iraq) may not receive a hearty welcome in Washington. It will not help that when William Hague, Cameron’s shadow foreign secretary, was Tory leader he based his election campaign on hostility to Europe.

Blair has not achieved his ambitions, but he usually gets the tone right. Since the European constitution was defeated in referendums in France and Holland, European federalism is not an imminent danger. A certain amount of enthusiasm for the European dream comes cheap and is necessary for anyone wishing to play on the European stage. It is precisely because the EU has been unsuccessful that a little idealism can do no harm."

Or indeed the political pressure of the new German Chancellor as quoted in a Telegraph article linked here, from which comes this startling passage:

Several Conservative MEPs told The Daily Telegraph they would disobey an instruction from Mr Cameron that the party's 27 MEPs should leave the centre-Right, but federalist, European People's Party bloc in the Euro-parliament.

Angela Merkel, the new German chancellor, and arguably the most powerful centre-Right politician in Europe, has warned the new Tory leader that unless he rethinks the decision to leave the EPP-ED bloc in Brussels and Strasbourg, her ruling Christian Democratic party, as well as sister parties in Denmark and Holland, will not work with him. Her intervention is highly embarrassing for Mr Cameron, because it could leave him without an important ally and raise questions about his experience in foreign affairs.

As well as reviving the largely dormant arguments over Europe within the Conservative Party, it would also call into question his commitment to more consensual politics.

A well-placed source said: "Mrs Merkel said she was looking forward to close co-operation within the framework of the EPP-ED. The political message was clear: you cannot leave the family and expect bilateral relations with members of that family."

posted by Martin |1:58 PM
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