Site Meter

Friday, April 16, 2010

Fear of Tory win spooks Europe

Fear of Tory win spooks Europe

The EU has barely figured in the campaign, but it is occupying minds elsewhere

"A spectre is haunting Europe – the spectre of Toryism. From the celebrated opening words of the Communist Manifesto in 1848, it may seem a dizzy leap to the Conservative Party Manifesto 2010. All the same, European capitals are surveying the British election campaign with increasing anxiety. There is no recent precedent for a party so virulently Eurosceptic, or europhobic, as David Cameron's "New Tories" taking office in a large EU member state.

The founding text of Marxism is certainly more radical than the eight paragraphs out of 120 pages that represent the founding wisdom of "Daveism" on Europe. According to the Tory manifesto, the European Union should become a loose "association" of states (reopening an argument that Britain lost more than 50 years ago). In the meantime, there should be more opt-outs and exceptions for Britain, including on criminal justice and the European charter of fundamental rights.

There will be a law to ensure a referendum on any future transfer of powers to the EU. A Tory Britain will never join the euro. On the surface, there is nothing especially revolutionary in all of that. No Ukip-like threat to leave the EU; no attempt to repeal the Lisbon reform treaty. All the same, continental governments are worried. According to a survey by the ConservativeHome website, more than 40 per cent of Tory candidates favour outright withdrawal or a "fundamental renegotiation" of EU membership".

No comments: