Thursday 17 November 2011

British or European Europe?

What makes the leading government party of the biggest eurozone and EU member state tick? Despite too little, too late, Germany participates fully in all the policy areas of the European Union. For Germany, the symbols of the EU express a feeling of community in Europe.

Compare the conference of the Christian Democratic Union CDU in Leipzig – Für Europa. Für Deutschland – with the steady stream of war-like propaganda from anti-EU media and campaigners in the United Kingdom, negative public opinion, the open hostility among the political class and the efforts of successive UK governments to play as little as possible for the team, while demanding most in return.

The previous British prime ministers Tony Blair and Gordon Brown pretended that the UK was at the heart of Europe, while standing on the brake and devising opt-outs. According to David Cameron ”we sceptics have a vital point”.

Compare the European values of the CDU (and Germany) with the sovereignty cum narrow national interest discourse streaming from Westminster.

The euroblogger Jon Worth called on Labour to embrace more constructive EU politics than those expressed by the shadow foreign secretary Douglas Alexander. He also proposed that UK politicians should drop the indiscriminate and narrow-minded use of the 'national interest' in relation to the European Union.

For those who think that prime minister David Cameron showed great restraint and wisdom by calling for the EU to be turned into a flexible network of nation states promoting open markets, Kosmopolit wrote a long blog post on the problems of the UK's approach to the EU. Long term all the EU member states (except Britain and Denmark) are bound to join the eurozone, so where are Cameron's long term allies?

Timothy Garton Ash asks Cameron to present his vision for Europe, if he has one. At this moment Cameron's British Europe is purest waffle. Chancellor Angela Merkel's German vision for political union in Europe is still only part right, but let the European leaders choose between these alternative routes forward.

Ralf Grahn

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