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Eurosceptic Bloggers

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

The Long Game

Ambrose Evans-Pritchard is in a good mood. He is of the opinion that Britain’s long game has finally paid off.

If not the commanding power, a buoyant Britain is the leader of the EU's now dominant bloc.
He mentions a number of victories:
Gerhard Schröder and Mr Chirac seem to have learnt nothing, and forgotten nothing. Were their fingers not burnt enough by their "Praline Summit" in April 2003, called to announce Europe's defiant stand against the Iraq war, when only Belgium and Luxembourg turned up? The Franco-German pair tried again last year, "choosing" a Belgian federalist to be president of the European Commission. They spoke too soon. The Poles balked. Italy's Silvio Berlusconi would have none of it. The Dutch quietly begged Downing Street to step in. Tony Blair obliged. The Belgian was replaced by a free-market Atlanticist: José Manuel Barroso.
The man he credits for this turn of events is John Major.
He kept us out of the euro at Maastricht, while keeping Britain just deep enough in the EU to secure the strategic prize of eastern enlargement. It was the most cunning straddle in modern British diplomacy.
It seems the one reputation that has benefited from the past couple of weeks is that of the previously not much lamented Major. I pointed out a few weeks back that it was he who set the Opt Out ball rolling. Maybe he was more successful than we thought? Just as I think Mr Evans-Pritchard is a little too optimistic, I am also in two minds about John Major. It was him personally that pushed for the ERM. Whilst the debacle that followed left no option for joining the Euro, it also let in a Pro European government and relegated the Conservative party to years in the wilderness. No its too early yet to rehabilitate the name of Major completely.

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