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Eurosceptic Bloggers

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Euro Mafia Attitude

I was recently lucky enough to attend an engagement where the guest speaker was the Dutch Ambassador to Turkey. The topic of the speech was the negotiations on Turkish membership to the EU. We got a good general insight into the behind the scenes issues. Of course in the second half of 2004, the rotating presidency of the EU was the Government of the Netherlands and so our speaker was the official messenger between the EU and the Turkish government. In addition, he was previously the Dutch ambassador to the EU. He described himself as a paid up member of the Euro Mafia. (Honestly his words not mine). Much of what we heard was confirmation of rumours that had surfaced in the newspapers, but for me the most interesting thing was the attitude of our speaker. As far as he was concerned, the Turk’s had fought their corner too hard, they had bargained for things that they had no right to. They were of course inexperienced in the ways of the EU and how one should behave. They didn’t understand the need for compromise. Now I am no fan of the current Turkish Government, but my understanding of how a government should behave is to fight for its country’s interests, which it seems in their own idiosyncratic way, the Turkish Government was. It was a great illustration of why the British are right to be so cynical about the great European Experiment, the difference between them and us. British politics is about conflict, about shouting in the House of Commons, great arguments over ideas and policies. It is a consequence of our two party system. No opposition party can hope to win an election based on compromising with the government. Our continental cousins are far more sophisticated and mature than we. They strike agreements in a gentlemanly way between coalition partners, behind closed doors. Thus the unaccountable way in which EU policy is made strikes none of them as strange, unwise or wrong in any way. It is the normal way that the business of politics is carried out. Our speaker was very negative about Turkey’s ability to meet the criteria to actually become a member. Whether this was from a federalist’s fear of UK mark two or from a genuine understanding of the difficulties to come, I was unable to ascertain. I suspect there was at least some wishful thinking involved. The reason that successive UK governments have sold us down the river is I believe a consequence of these club rules. Whilst black listing is a little difficult, those not abiding by the codes of behaviour would soon find themselves sent to Coventry. Basically our so called leaders are crumbling under social pressure. Whilst she made her fair share of Euro Blunders I cannot help but admire Mrs T’s view on compromise.
Throughout my political career, I sought to avoid compromise where ever possible.
With such views, no wonder we are the black sheep of the family.

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