Tuesday, 2 June 2009

European elections: New political group

Phobia is the common denominator: Europhobes join homophobes.

Small wonder that the UK Conservative Party and the Polish Law and Justice Party are going to form a political group in the European Parliament after the European elections. They will be joined by the Czech Civic Democrats (ODS), hovering between the Europhobia of President Vaclav Klaus and more pragmatic market oriented nationalism. They will probably attract some MEPs from nationalistic fringe parties in order to have representatives from at least seven EU member states.

The Group of the European People’s Party (EPP) will become a bit more coherent, but the main effect is that the new group rejects the European mainstream, including Angela Merkel and Nicolas Sarkozy and other national leaders, broadly supportive of British aims on the single market and world trade.

The other member states can hardly have missed the profound problems the Conservative European Election Manifesto, David Cameron and William Hague promise, if Britain stays on the inside of the European Union.

If UK government relationships with Europe have looked less than constructive until now, you ain’t seen nothing yet. We will just have to wait for the Conservative government to be voted in.

Demonstratively outside the European mainstream, Cameron will arrange his referendum on the Lisbon Treaty.

Then he will try to woo sympathy to renegotiate the UK’s relationship with other EU member states, firmly committed to the Lisbon Treaty, possibly in force at the time.

The Tories’ policies on Europe have all the makings of a strategic disaster spiced with tactical blunders.

Why should the other leaders of Europe go out of their way to help Cameron? Shouldn’t he reap what he has sown?

After all, the (other) member states need a functioning European Union.

Ralf Grahn