Wednesday 4 November 2009

Britain and EU: Cameron’s goodwill capital

Outside the United Kingdom, the Lisbon Treaty is seen in a positive light, as testified by the national governments and parliaments.

Before entering the government, the Tories have exasperated their European partners by leaving the mainstream Group of the European People’s Party (EPP) in the European Parliament, establishing the anti-integrationist European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR) group, by inciting president Vaclav Klaus to hold out on his Lisbon Treaty signature against the democratic approval by 27 national parliaments, by astounding the EU member states through declaring the possible nomination of Tony Blair as president of the European Council to be a hostile act, by transferring the new Europarty – the Alliance of European Conservatives and Reformists (AECR) and its think tank (foundation) – in the hands of outspoken anti-EU MEPs, and by campaigning for further British “red lines” and opt-outs, with no consideration for contributing responsibly to the common project.

There are three main options to continue towards the outer edges of the European Union, or beyond: an amicable settlement, political extortion or exit.

Amicably: Further repatriation of EU powers to Britain has to find unanimous agreement between 27 member states, but what is the balance of the Tories’ goodwill capital to draw on?

Extortion: If a coming Conservative government opts for confrontation, are the 26 other EU member states really going to capitulate to political blackmail?

Exit: The Lisbon Treaty outlines the modalities.

Let us first look at the UK Conservative (British) situation as seen by outsiders, with the Lisbon Treaty factually ratified by all member states.


Transatlantic relations

The signals from the US-EU summit underline the importance of a European Union willing and able to act as one in the world.

AFP: Obama welcomes ‘strengthened’ EU (4 November 2009)

EUbusiness: Obama welcomes ‘strengthened’ EU (3 November 2009)

The Telegraph: Barack Obama praises EU’s Lisbon treaty agreement (3 November 2009)

Alla Dessa Dagar, Carl Bildt: En ny dag i Vita Huset (4 November 2009)


EU member states

A few news items convey the message that the member states of the European Union see the Lisbon Treaty as an important step forwards, even if that is abundantly clear from 27 ratifications.

European Voice, Toby Vogel: EU leaders hail treaty’s passage (3 November 2009)

EUbusiness: Swedish PM hails ‘very important’ EU treaty signing (3 November 2009)

EUbusiness: Sarkozy welcomes ‘great news’ for EU treaty (3 November 2009)

EUbusiness: EU under Lisbon treaty will be ‘more democratic’: Merkel (3 November 2009)

Czech Happenings: Most Czech politicians hail Klaus’s decision to sign Lisbon (3 November 2009)

Le Figaro: Les Tchèques signent le traité de Lisbonne (3 November 2009)

Renascença : « Tratado da Lisboa abre um novo ciclo », diz Sócrates (3 November 2009)



The feeling among knowledgeable Eurobloggers seems to be that David Cameron is about to outline a policy, which will satisfy nobody and may lead nowhere.

Some argue that it might be better to arrange a clear In or Out referendum.

Coulisses de Bruxelles, Jean Quatremer: Les conservateurs britanniques vont-ils oser sortir de l’Union ? (3 November 2009)

The European Citizen, Conor Slowey: The Lisbon Treaty ratified: only months of speculation left! (3 November 2009)

Jason O’Mahony: The Big Tory EuroCon (4 November 2009)

Jon Worth: Some questions for David Cameron today (4 November 2009)

Verfassungsblog, Max Steinbeis: Lissabon: This is not over yet… [in German] (4 November 2009)

Erkan’s Field Diary, Erkan Saka: Lisbon era starts in Europe while Merkel makes her historic US address (4 November 2009)

Ralf Grahn

P.S. Educate yourself: Read interesting Euroblogs on multilingual

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