Yesterday the Telegraph reported that the Prime Minister had signed a deal with the leaders of all 27 EU countries to strengthen Europe’s ability to deploy troops rapidly and effectively in any future crisis.
Of course a backlash from his own MPs has already formed. One said the latest move was “the first step to creating a ‘European Army’.”
And Douglas Carswell, Conservative MP for Clacton, was reported in the article to have said: “This really shows that we can’t trust our negotiating team. You turn your back for two minutes and they go and sign up to something as daft as this.
“This might look like a good deal for those in Number 10 but outside Westminster it is anything but a good deal.
“If anyone seriously believes that it is in our national interest to hand over our defence to the people running the euro then we would need our heads examined,” Carswell said.
And Tory MP Peter Bone called on the Prime Minister to “come to the House and clarify the position”.
This sort of response peppered with language designed to spread fear but which actually shows a complete lack of knowledge also indicates why the Tories are in such a mess over Europe.
Their approach, as we know well by now, lacks clarity and is fragmented. Cameron has failed to get any unity from his party and it’s going to continue to cause problems for him.
You can read the article in full here.
As I have been saying for some time, the Tories cannot simply pick and choose what part of the EU they do want to be part of. It’s not as simple as that.
Francois Hollande used a fantastic line which summed up the situation perfectly, after getting tired with Cameron’s strategy of exploiting the euro crisis as an excuse to renegotiate the terms of Britain’s EU membership and claw back powers from Brussels. Hollande said of Cameron’s plans: “Europe is not a Europe where you can take back competencies. It’s not a Europe ‘a la carte’.”
One of the biggest challenges Cameron would face if he continued plans to renegotiate the relationship with Europe would be to get the 26 other governments to allow concessions for Britain.
It’s messy, improbable and, as Ian Traynor pointed out in his article in the Guardian on Saturday, it’s certainly unlikely that EU treaties would be re-opened before the next European Parliament elections in 2014. You can read his article in full here.