When Gordon Brown spoke about Britain’s unique place in the world and about advancing Britain’s national interest, he actually managed to mention the European Union in his five page speech:
“Through our membership of the European Union – which gives us and 26 other countries the unique opportunity to work together on economic, environmental and security challenges – and the Commonwealth, and through our commitment to NATO and the UN, we have the capacity to work together with all those who share our vision of the future. And I do not see these as partnerships in competition with each other but mutually reinforcing.”
Specifically Brown had a vision for the EU:
“I want to play my part in helping the European Union move away from its past preoccupation with inward looking institutional reform and I will work with others to propose a comprehensive agenda for a Global Europe – a Europe that is outward looking, open, internationalist, able to effectively respond both through internal reform and external action to the economic, security and environmental imperatives of globalisation.”
Daniel Korski, of the European Council on Foreign Relations, gave two cheers for the speech: one for making a positive case for how the EU can amplify Member State policies and a second one for focusing on an outward-looking attempt at addressing the world’s challenges.
Korski still missed an explicit case being made for the Lisbon Treaty’s new “bureaucratic arrangements” and for EU enlargement.
I wonder. Is this indicative of the level of engagement, clarity of vision and concreteness of proposals the ECFR is going to expect from the European Union and the national leaders?
In that case establishing the new think-tank was a waste of energy and money.
Gordon Brown almost overlooking the European Union may not have come as much of a surprise, but the ECFR, too?
Let us hope that more comprehensive European analyses and agendas are forthcoming.
Gordon Brown: Lord Mayor’s Banquet Speech: PM outlines foreign policy priorities; 12 November 2007; http://www.number10.gov.uk
Daniel Korski: Two cheers for Gordon Brown’s speech; The European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR), 13 November 2007; http://www.ecfr.eu