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Eurosceptic Bloggers

Monday, May 02, 2005

Problematic Brits

For Ever Closer Unionists, the Brits must be infuriating. Since we joined in, we have been talking the project down, discussing leaving and generally being negative. Over the weekend, BBC’s The Record Europe, discussed this issue with four Non British MEP’s. Alain Lipietz MEP, as we would expect from a French Green, was basically of the opinion that the EU should be a state and everyone should accept all the rules. His attitude, a great example of what we don’t like about “Europe”. He did make an important point that France tries to project its version of the State onto the EU without compromise. This is a major source of friction. This could be a reason why the resistance to the constitution comes from such an unexpected quarter in France. Alexander Stubb a Finnish centre Right MEP, made a comment which came very close to changing my view of one of the Eurosceptic movement’s antiheros. Britain’s most damaging contribution to the EU was he said, the invention of the opt-out. Not members of the Euro, or Schengen, opting out of the social chapter, it was creating a precedent that other smaller members were happy to follow. This was generating a kind of open buffet approach to European Union projects. Thinking about this lead me to a startling conclusion. The man who really started this was John Major, signer of the hated Maastricht Treaty. As time progresses, the idea has become more firmly rooted. It has also provided a “cheaper way” for governments to pander to us Eurosceptics. It’s a rot that could be the undoing of the whole project. Could the Edward Heath of the 1990’s actually be a destroyer of the European Dream? Finally on an issue that is raised often since this time last year. Europe is finally going Britain’s way. The theory is that with more free market oriented and Atlanticist members entering in 2004, Britain has more allies. It is true that many of them are more like us than the French for example, but I 100% disagree with the conclusion that many people seem to draw. Toomas Ilves an Estonian Social Democrat MEP said that with so many more potential allies, Britain could take the lead, but it had to be more positively engaged. Which sounds to me more or less like, Do as your told, after all you have more friends now. At the point where our power to cause trouble has been massively increased, why on earth should we become more cooperative? We should use our power to nail once and for all the terrible dream of political union. If the original six members don’t like that, tough. They should have followed De Gaulle’s advice.

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