Monday, November 20, 2006

What referendums? Gordon Brown and the Euro federalists

In a speech marking the beginning of Britain's EU presidency in the second half of 2005, Blair made, even by his admittedly low standards, a fairly rational speech to the European Parliament "We have to renew," he said, as he urged the union to accept new members such as Turkey and Croatia and to modernize economically to confront the competitive challenges of China and India.

If European countries decide "to huddle together, hoping we can avoid globalization, shrink away from confronting the changes around us, take refuge in the present policies of Europe," he said, "then we risk failure, failure on a grand, strategic scale."

But the situation across the Channel is far, far different. The French contenders for the presidency in 2007 have both strongly embraced the idea of a French-led drive for European integration. Nicolas Sarkozy, the centre-Right favourite for the presidency, recently set forth his own plans for reviving Europe after the failed constitution, involving a "mini-treaty", extracting elements from the defunct text. Segolene Royal opposes Sarkozy's idea of a "mini-version" of the torpedoed EU constitution. And what does she have in mind?

Gilles Savary, a French MEP and her spokesman and foreign affairs adviser, speaking to The Daily Telegraph has commented. "She believes, like all the French, that Europe should be more protective and should defend itself better," Mr Savary said. Miss Royal was confident that "Europe can be relaunched with Germany, Italy and Spain. It is perfectly possible to have treaties within the treaty, among four nations," he said. "If other nations want to sign up, that's good. But we cannot have a Europe where one part goes to war in Iraq, another part does not, and we all end up paying the bill." Germany has already indicated that it wants to resurrect the now discredited EU Constitution by the end of its presidency of the EU next June.

In the past, Gordon Brown has painted a picture of a Europe held back by outdated economic and political ideologies. According to Gordo Europe was being throttled by regulation, inflexible labour markets and product and capital markets that desperately needed to be liberalised.Blair has often been overly keen to mend fences with EU leaders. Will Gordo step up to the mark and credibly defend the national interest as PM or will it be a continuation of the lacklustre Blair approach? The Polish President, Lech Kaczynski, has said that "I think the EU should remain a union of states because I think the nation state has still not ended its mission..." Would Gordo agree?Will he really take on the Franco-German federalist axis?Who can say?

5 comments:

Shotgun said...

The French are obviously still smarting over their loss of lucrative oil and arms contracts to Saddam Hussein and are looking at vindictive little ways to get back.

To suggest that some countries can have their own treaty within the EU is stupid and will hopefully make the day we leave come sooner.

Brown will sign up to anything on our behalf and waether the storm as he will say it is in the UK's best interests.

This is another nail in his coffin as PM or at the very least for a fourth term.

istanbultory said...

I agree. Reasons to be cheerful.

Ellee said...

It is ridiculous though that parts of Europe are at war with Iraq and others are not, there should be a unified front on this, which was one of the issues under review in the European Constitution.
It will be interesting to see what happens when France takes the lead, usually the new president makes sweeping statements, but very little happens during their term in office.

Ellee said...

It is ridiculous though that parts of Europe are at war with Iraq and others are not, there should be a unified front on this, which was one of the issues under review in the European Constitution.
It will be interesting to see what happens when France takes the lead, usually the new president makes sweeping statements, but very little happens during their term in office.

Shotgun said...

The problem with the EU since its inception was, and is, French nationalism won't allow for anything but French domination in one way or another of the EU.

That sounds far-faetched, but is it?

Iraq would have been a joint effort, but for the French smarting at losing their various lucrative contracts, and also because they were not the centre of attention, i.e. the US and UK took the lead. There is no profit there for the French.

A unified front Ellee is an impossibility, ever, unless it was unified on French terms.

The constitution was always going to be rejected in the UK and other countries, so why did France reject it?

2007 was going to be a year of change for the EU, where the CAP was going to be almost scrapped, and the French take 60% of the CAP for themselves, that's true, and that equates to 40% of the whole EU budget going to French farmers...they ahve scrapped the idea of hard reform, and Bliar sold our vetos down the line to buy them, but it's been reneged on, as we knew it would.

The French are the stmbling block to almost all and any progress in the EU. From having to have 2 parliaments, one in France of course, to having to speak French although every other EU country accepts Englsih as the first language of the EU and indeed the world.

We do not need to leave the EU to be successful; we need to eject the French.