Thursday 5 November 2009

Britain and EU: European reactions to Cameron

After looking at British reports and reactions on David Cameron’s Conservative policy shift on Europe, it is time to view what European observers have to say on the prospects of a Tory government responsible for European Union affairs. Here are some first reactions.


« Conservateurs britanniques : que de la gueule ! » is the headline of Jean Quatremer on Coulisses de Bruxelles (4 November 2009). David Cameron courts europhobes, knowing that nothing will change for his country. Britain prefers to block from the inside.

The European Citizen (Conor Slowey) sees the Conservative Party: the Ghost of Referenda to come (4 November 2009). The blog post notes the Conservatives’ fear of human rights. It concludes:

“This is a Tory party that has shed almost all association or common thought with continental Christian Democracy, has dropped its tradition of pragmatism and is suspicious and hostile towards the judiciary. I can only describe the Tory party as dangerously constitutionally illiterate.”

In a lighter vein, Jason O’Mahony offers us the imaginary scenario of a UK In or Out referendum in 2013: E-Day: The British EU Referendum May 2013 (4 November 2009).


EU partners

Despite Britain’s importance, its EU history and the prospective Tory government are exasperating for European politicians. In an interview for The Guardian, France’s Europe minister Pierre Lellouche called the Tory repatriation plans pathetic, and he said that it is sad to see Britain cutting itself out from the rest; in France: ‘Autistic Tories have castrated UK in Europe’ (4 November 2009).

The leading German Christian Democrat MEP Elmar Brok, under the headline Bid to repatriate powers is a Tory pipe dream (The Independent, 5 November 2009).


The Tories have spent all their European goodwill capital long before taking office. If elected, they are free to posture at home, but their chances of success and influence in the European Union look slim.

On the other hand, Britain’s continued EU membership is drag on European integration.

Does it have to go on like this?

Ralf Grahn

P.S. Get to know the real EUSSR through the good, the better and the best Euroblogs on multilingual

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