REPRODUCTION OF ARTICLE BY GRAHAM BISHOP, WWW.GRAHAMBISHOP.COM, ON IMPACT ON CITY OF HMG'S EU POLICY
Exceptionally, we reproduce Graham Bishop's article published today by the European Movement at http://ymlp.com/zft4k4.
This implies no political affiliation on Mr Bishop's part: simply our own strong - and established - agreement with the points he makes:-
The UK's EU policy: Progressive meltdown epitomised by ECJ rejection of `bankers’ bonus’ case.
by Graham Bishop, EU Political, Financial, Economic and Budgetary policy expert and founder of www.grahambishop.com
The pace of collapse seems to be accelerating – and the commercial consequences for the UK may well intensify correspondingly, especially for the City of London. The timeline of the divergence between the UK's attitude to the EU and mainstream EU opinion stretches back at least a decade.
The enduring characteristic of recent UK policy is a lack of strategic thinking about the longer-run implications. Instead the focus seem to be on the immediate short-run benefits. Key events that have had an effect on the financial services industry included:
1. The Conservatives leave EPP – May 2009 ahead of EP election.
2. Veto a Treaty – December 2011: Subsequently, TSCG was signed on 1 March 2012 and now ratified by 25 EU States
3. Attack on free movement of persons – November 2013 onwards
4. Short–selling - January 2014: action dismissed by ECJ.
5. FTT – April 2014: action dismissed by ECJ
6. Veto Juncker – June 2014 onwards: Juncker is now President of the Commission
7. EU budget surcharge – October 2014: Was it really `halved’?
8. Bankers’ Bonuses - November 2014: action dismissed by ECJ
9. The United Kingdom versus ECB on CCPs – perhaps in May 2015?
For the financial services industry, the real commercial problem is now looming. The Government's habit of resorting to suing the rest of the EU Members in the European Court of Justice (ECJ) is counterproductive and gives the impression (wrongly) that the UK's political clout is minimal. There is plenty of scope for compromise in EU decision-making, before taking one's partners to the ECJ. But by abandoning the route of negotiation and compromise the UK is unable promote its position.
So far the UK has failed in every financial services ECJ case – with its arguments almost entirely rejected. Reading the ECJ decisions, even a layman can understand why the flimsy arguments have been rejected.
However, the most significant ECJ case is yet to come. In September, I explained that the ECJ will pronounce judgment on three cases brought by the UK Government against the ECB on the location of CCPs. (European Court of Justice: The United Kingdom versus ECB on CCPs).
British business now faces an excruciating dilemma: should it support its traditional political ally (the Conservative Party), or the Labour Party, do something entirely different, or sit on its hands?
Ahead of the General Election next May, the UK Government is focussing on the 'sunny uplands’ of economic growth, falling unemployment, and low inflation etc. But the Prime Minster needs to look over his shoulder and see some inky-black clouds rolling over the horizon behind him. The logical consequences of his 'EU policy’ may blot out the sun all too soon.
"The views expressed on the euroblog are those of the authors and not necessarily of the European Movement UK. The European Movement UK is pleased to publish articles on a variety of EU policy areas as a contribution to the debate.”
Speaking at Trinity College Dublin (TCD) this evening (Thurs - 12 Nov) 4 Freedoms Party (UK EPP) leader Dirk Hazell will urge Britain to remain in the EU. At tonight’s TCD debate on the growing possibility of Brexit, organised by the Young Fine Gael international committee, Hazell will attack British PM David Cameron’s refusal to rule out leaving the EU: “Cameron’s CBI comments on Monday (10 Nov) crossed the line by implying Brexit. Instead of arguing for Britain to regain a leading role at the heart of Europe, Cameron chooses retreating to the margins of history.”
“Both Britain and Ireland need to focus on the EU’s achievements, with our national interests coming before party politics. Cameron risks tearing the UK apart: advocating Brexit will reopen the Scottish debate. Equally, Cameron’s reckless plans to restrict human rights in the UK by repealing the Human Rights Act and threatening withdrawal from the European Convention on Human Right (ECHR) jeopardise both UK unity and British EU membership. Withdrawing from the ECHR also risks breaching the Belfast Good Friday Agreement”, Hazell warned the Dublin audience.
“What the UK needs is real political leadership: leaders with courage, who use the present to build a better future. Instead of running away from Europe, we should aim for a leading role in the European Union: meeting common challenges that face us all through shared values and aims. We must stand true to our beliefs and resist populist politicians peddling fear: exposing the myths and distortions that are designed to divide and rule”, noted Hazell: “Bringing people together: uniting our means and efforts to achieve greater strength, resource, prosperity and security.”
“Europe needs courage, not fear. Yesterday (Wed - 11 Nov), across Europe we remembered the fallen: those who paid the ultimate price for past policy failure. In this rapidly changing world, we should recognise the warnings of commentators like Michael White, who wrote recently in The Guardian that ‘increasingly fractious and enfeebled, our politicians may drift into an EU breakup just as, 100 years ago, we drifted into war’”, said Hazell.
Hazell observed: “With Russia testing European unity over Ukraine, and the self-proclaimed Islamic State recruiting in Europe’s cities, now is the time for Europeans to stand together. In our interconnected world, no nation is an island. Through shared values and by sharing sovereignty, our local communities, cities, regions and nations can combat global challenges - such as climate change, and the growing gap between rich and poor. Whilst we cannot recover the past, clearly the future is ours to lose or win. By working together within the EU, we can shape a better future free of fear. Europe - not fear-peddling demagogues - offer hope for our achievable and positive future”
Turning to the tectonic shifts and ever increasing schisms within United Kingdom politics during the last five years, Hazell observed: “By bringing Britain to the brink of Brexit in a desperate effort to appease UKIP, the Conservative Party has placed party politics ahead of the national interest, as a result betraying both. British PM David Cameron’s Bloomberg speech in January 2013 has failed to bridge the ever widening split in the Conservative Party over Europe.”
Tomorrow (Thurs - 13 Nov) evening, former British PM Sir John Major will speak in Berlin on Brexit at the headquarters of German CDU’s Konrad Adenauer Foundation (KAS). “In March 1991, while visiting German Chancellor Helmut Kohl, British PM John Major told the KAS audience in Bonn that Britain’s role was ‘at the heart of Europe’. And in 1992, John Major led the British Tory MEPs into the mainstream centre right EPP Group: to sit alongside friends like Fine Gael”, concluded Hazell: “In ordering Conservative MEPs to leave the EPP family, Cameron began systematically to destroy the work of Sir John Major and other Tory leaders.”
Opposing the Motion "This House believes that the Europe Union is a waste of British time" at the Durham Union Society yesterday evening (Fri - 31 Oct) 4 Freedoms Party (UK EPP) leader Dirk Hazell argued that Britain’s place is at the heart of Europe: “We must not retreat to the margins of history, but instead build on our achievements. The national interest must come before party politics. The UK needs political leaders, who use the present to ensure a better future. Instead of running away from Europe, we should aspire to a leading role in the European Union: meeting common challenges that face us all through shared values and aims.”
“In 1914, the Durham Union Society had the foresight to push for women to have the vote - fourteen years before the UK finally embraced universal suffrage. By challenging the thinking of the day, this Union recognised the need for change. In 2014, we must again have the courage of our beliefs and resist populist politicians peddling fear: exposing the myths and distortions that are designed to divide and rule”, noted Hazell: “Instead, we should bring people together: uniting our means and efforts to achieve greater strength, resource, prosperity and security.”
“Every person has a unique spiritual value. Everyone should get a fair crack at fulfilment, with help for the vulnerable. Our youth deserves the best possible educational and training opportunities, securing and then flourishing in good jobs. People should be free to work at home and abroad, achieving their full potential without needless bureaucratic interference. The retired and vulnerable in our society should be free to live in dignity and safety. Europe - not fear peddling demagogues - is the hope for this achievable and positive future”, urged Hazell.
“Europe needs courage, not fear. Two days ago (29 Oct), Michael White warned in The Guardian that ‘increasingly fractious and enfeebled, our politicians may drift into an EU breakup just as, 100 years ago, we drifted into war’. With Russia testing European unity over Ukraine, and the self-proclaimed Islamic State recruiting in Europe’s cities, now is the time for Europeans to stand together”, said Hazell.
As to the tectonic shifts shaking up United Kingdom politics during the last five years, Hazell warned: “By bringing Britain to the brink of Brexit in a desperate effort to appease UKIP, the Conservative Party places party politics ahead of the national interest. British PM David Cameron’s Bloomberg speech in January 2013 has failed to bridge the ever widening split in the Conservative Party over Europe.”
“In 2011, the European Union Act was passed to ensure that the British people can vote on any future major transfers of powers from the UK to the EU. The so-called ‘Referendum Lock’ provides the chance to campaign for Britain to be at the heart of Europe once everyone knows what is on offer. At the time, William Hague wrote ‘this law hands back democratic control of the way the EU is developing to the British electorate’ and ‘means being positive and proactive about what European countries can achieve together through the EU’”, explained Hazell.
Hazell concluded: “In our interconnected world, no nation is an island. Through shared values and by sharing sovereignty, our local communities, cities, regions and nations can combat global challenges - such as climate change, and the growing gap between rich and poor. Whilst we cannot recover the past, clearly the future is ours to lose or win. By working together within the EU, we can shape a better future free of fear.”
Following the debate, members of the Union heavily defeated the Motion.
This Friday (17 Oct), the British Parliament will debate the second Private Member’s Bill (PMB) calling for the date of a referendum on British EU membership to be announced by the end of 2016 and to take place during 2017. “This reckless Conservative ploy - led by the new Bill’s proponent Bob Neill MP - undermines UK membership of the EU. By bringing Britain to the brink of Brexit in a desperate effort to appease UKIP, Cameroon Conservatives yet again place party politics ahead of the national interest”, 4 Freedoms Party (UK EPP) leader Dirk Hazell warned: “As we predicted at the time, British PM David Cameron’s Bloomberg speech in January 2013 led only to deeper Tory split over Europe”.
After the House of Lords blocked by 180 votes to 130 earlier this year (Fri - 31 Jan) Tory MP James Wharton’s original Bill, Cameron is once again trying to force through this major constitutional gamble via a Private Member's Bill. “By planning to invoke the rarely used Parliament Act and overrule the House of Lords, Cameron is caving into the Conservative Party’s UKIP militant tendency. British parliamentarians are being asked to support this EU referendum without knowing anything of Cameron’s renegotiation plans. This white flag of surrender to UKIP is a blank cheque, with no clear strategy. Cameron’s essay crisis policy-making is undermining British influence”, stated Hazell.
In 2011, the European Union Act ensured that the British people can vote on any future major transfers of powers from the UK to the EU, providing a chance to campaign for Britain to be at the heart of Europe once everyone knows what is on offer. At the time, William Hague wrote of this so-called ‘Referendum Lock’ that ‘this law hands back democratic control of the way the EU is developing to the British electorate’ and ‘means being positive and proactive about what European countries can achieve together through the EU’. “In 2014, Cameron is more desperate than ever to put internal party politics ahead of the national interest. On the English and European questions, Cameron’s kowtowing to UKIP cannot succeed”.
Before Tuesday’s (14 Oct) House of Commons devolution debate, the UK government outlined more powers for the Scottish Parliament - after September’s referendum. “Even UKIP leader Nigel Farage agrees the UK is too centralised. A settlement similar to Germany’s Basic Law would strengthen both Britain’s regional identity and our voice in the EU. Cameron’s tactics fail to defeat UKIP - instead bringing Britain to the brink of Scottish separation and to the edge of Europe”, added Hazell.
Next month (Thurs - 20 Nov), Cameron faces further electoral test in the Kent parliamentary by-election for Rochester and Strood - following Tory MP Mark Reckless’ defection to UKIP. “Cameron is hostage to UKIP sympathisers like Daniel Hannan MEP ever since recklessly pledging, as part of the 2005 Tory leadership race, to order Tory MEPs out of the mainstream centre-right EPP Group in Brussels. Cameron cannot stem the rise of UKIP, and is instead surrendering British influence across the EU by caving in to the Conservative Euro-rebels”.
“The 4 Freedoms Party (UK EPP) continues to challenge Cameron’s plan to marginalise further the UK. We believe in Britain leading, not leaving, Europe - and will strive to put Britain back at the heart of Europe”, concluded Hazell: “In our interconnected world, no nation is an island. Through shared values and by sharing sovereignty, our local communities, cities, regions and nations can combat global challenges such as climate change, and the growing gap between rich and poor. We cannot recover the past: our focus must be that the future is ours to lose or win. By working together within the EU, we can shape a better future free of fear”, concluded Hazell.
UKIP’s twin successes earlier this morning (Fri - 10 Oct), thrashing the Conservative Party in the Clacton (Essex, UK) by-election and slashing Labour’s majority in Heywood and Middleton (Greater Manchester, UK) leader of the 4 Freedoms Party (UK EPP) Dirk Hazell urged: “Voters clearly want change, but UKIP’s politics of fear are not the answer. Pro-Europeans should set out a clear and positive vision of the UK’s future in a changing Europe. The Tory tactic of appeasing UKIP and caving in to the Conservative Party’s UKIP Militant Tendency is destined to fail.”
Acknowledging new UKIP MP Douglas Carswell’s courage in triggering yesterday’s (Thurs - 9 Oct) Clacton by-election, Hazell stated: “Carswell is right to identify ‘change in technology that redefines the relationship between the governing and the governed’. But as pro-Europeans we disagree with Carswell’s anti-EU stance. Sharing sovereignty within Europe is essential if we are to combat global challenges such as climate change and the growing gap between rich and poor. By working together at the heart of Europe we can shape a better future free of fear.”
“UKIP is also right to call for federalism: we need a federal UK based on subsidiarity, giving people more power over local decisions”, noted Hazell: “But in our interconnected world, no man is an island. UKIP’s insular policies offer a false anti-EU prospectus for Britain’s vulnerable. Brexit would lead to less inward investment and fewer opportunities. Becoming an offshore tax haven for oligarchs and bankers may benefit UKIP’s wealthy backers, but it would leave most people behind. Instead of leaving the EU, we should strive for a leading role in shaping Europe’s future.”
“The British government’s own internal review into the balance of competences finds that Britain benefits from continued EU membership, as the respected CEPS think tank points out. The creation of the EU has ensured a better, fairer Europe based on freedom and security”, said Hazell: “Cameron’s Brexit brinkmanship raises uncertainty and reduces British influence beyond Brussels. By placing internal party politics ahead of the national interest, British PM David Cameron is kowtowing to the Conservative Party’s UKIP Militant Tendency.”
“Cameron’s essay crisis policy-making lacks strategic direction. Reckless tactics such as leaving the mainstream centre-right EPP Group in Brussels reduce British influence, while failing to stem the rise of UKIP. Cameron must stop caving in to Conservative Euro-rebels, UKIP sympathisers like Daniel Hannan MEP. Instead, Cameron should set out a positive vision of Britain’s European destiny. By advocating traditional one nation Tory values and presenting a pro-European plan for Britain’s future we can defeat UKIP’s fear mongering”, commented Hazell.
As the Coalition faces another by-election test in the Kent parliamentary seat of Rochester and Strood - following Tory MP Mark Reckless’ earlier defection to UKIP - Hazell looked ahead to next year’s (Thurs - 7 May 2015) UK General Election: “UKIP looks set to be to the 2015 General Election what the Liberal Democrats were to 2010. And voters are abandoning the Coalition government. In Clacton, the LibDem vote was 91% lower than in 2010. In Heywood and Middleton, the Conservative vote was 72% lower than in 2010. British politics are changing.”
Amid fears in Brussels - plus Liberal Democrat splits in the Coalition - that Cameron’s ill-judged 2017 British EU referendum plan could complicate national election campaigns in Germany and France, Hazell concluded: “The 4 Freedoms Party (UK EPP) is determined to challenge Cameron’s plan to marginalise further the UK. We believe in Britain leading, not leaving, Europe - and will strive to put Britain back at the heart of Europe”. ENDS
Today, (Tues - 30 Sept), at the Conservative Party’s annual conference held in Birmingham, Tory Euro-MPs are determined to defy Cameron. “By inviting Farage’s friend Timo Soini, populist leader of the anti-immigrant and anti-EU True Finn party, to speak at this morning’s Conservative-led ECR Group fringe meeting Conservative MEPs want to snub Cameron. The Hannan bandwagon of UKIP sympathisers is in charge and fighting to secure Brexit. This is no longer a rebellion, but a takeover”, commented leader of Britain’s 4 Freedoms Party (UK EPP) Dirk Hazell.
Timo Soini was in Birmingham two years ago to deliver a keynote address at UKIP’s 2012 party conference. “Timo Soini’s return to Birmingham exposes Cameron’s misguided appeasement of the UKIP Militant Tendency within the Conservative Party. The Conservative Party’s leadership has surrendered control to the Euro-rebels”, stated Hazell. As Conservative London region chairman during the 2005 general election, Hazell saw first-hand the growth of the Tory’s UKIP militant tendency - with Cameron making matters worse through his irresponsible promise to leave the EPP during his Conservative Party leadership bid.
As leading British media commentators highlight increasing chances that the Conservative Party will finally split over Europe, speeches by senior Conservative MPs Ken Clarke and John Redwood yesterday (Mon - 29 Sept) exposed hardening divisions as rebels call for UKIP-Tory pacts.
“John Redwood’s threat that businesses should ‘keep out and not express a corporate view’ on Europe is a hypocritical and menacing attack on freedom. It is reckless anti-EU Tories who daily undermine Britain’s strategic investment prospects and voice across Europe and beyond. British influence was sharply reduced when Cameron marched his Tory MEPs out of the EPP Group in 2009, and it has been downhill ever since”, observed Hazell: “Given Boris Johnson’s renewed invitation to UKIP’s boss Nigel Farage to join the Conservative Party, the split looks virtually inevitable - unless remaining pro-Europeans wish to serve under UKIP.”
Both British PM David Cameron and the Mayor of London Boris Johnson appear prepared to campaign for Britain to exit the EU if the Conservative renegotiation plans fail to deliver a special deal for the UK. “Cameron needs to come clean with the British people over his EU strategy. Short-term tactics and media Euro-spin are no substitute for a national strategy. Cameron must explain how the Tories plan to stop Brexit”, said Hazell.
Tomorrow (Wed - 1 Oct) lunchtime, Cameron’s nominee as Britain’s European Commissioner - Lord Hill of Oareford - will be grilled for three hours by the European Parliament’s economic and monetary affairs committee. “It is good to see Jonathan Hill vow to keep Britain in the EU, but Hill’s credibility is undermined as the British Conservative-led ECR Group lurches to the harder right and Cameron loses control”, warned Hazell.
“Before Britain went to the polls on Thursday 22 May, our 4 Freedoms Party (UK EPP) asked both the Prime Minister as leader of the Conservative Party and also the leader of the Conservative MEPs to come clean about their intended euro-allies. They instead concealed from the British people what was already planned. In reality UKIP-sympathiser Daniel Hannan MEP - not David Cameron - runs the Conservative Party in Brussels: alone good enough reason for British business to speak out”, explained Hazell.
Two of anti-EU MEP Hannan’s closest friends and allies - former Tory MPs Douglas Carswell and Mark Reckless - recently defected to UKIP. - One-time special adviser to Conservative party leader Michael Howard, Hannan is currently boycotting this year’s Conservative Party conference. Seen as the UKIP Trojan Horse in the Tory Party, Hannan is becoming increasingly strident in defying Cameron and opposing Britain’s EU membership.
The pro-European 4 Freedoms Party (UK EPP) gives centre ground, centre-right pro-European people in the UK the chance to be back at the heart of Europe, inside the mainstream EPP family. “By refusing to face down UKIP, instead putting his own survival as party leader ahead of the British national interest, Cameron is taking Britain to the brink of Brexit. - We offer an alternative. We are determined to repair the damage Cameron created. We believe in bringing people together, not driving them apart. Britain should lead not leave the EU”, concluded Hazell.
FEDERALISM FOR BRITAIN: FOR ONCE NIGEL FARAGE IS RIGHT SAY PRO-EUROPEANS
On Thursday (18 Sept), Scotland will face a historic decision as millions of Scots decide the United Kingdom’s future after 307 years of Union. This afternoon (Tues – 16 Sept), leader of Britain’s new 4 Freedoms Party (UK EPP) Dirk Hazell commented: “Whatever the outcome of Thursday’s vote, Britain now urgently needs a new constitutional settlement more empowering even than the great 1832 Reform Act was then.”
“Cameron lacks strategic thinking. Cameron’s failed tactics bring Britain to the brink of Scottish separation and to leaving the EU. People want a genuine say over their own future: greater control over decisions affecting their lives. In our modern global village, this must be based on stronger local and regional representation”, continued Hazell: “The UKIP militant tendency in the British Conservative Party misrepresents federalism as a fearful ‘F-word’ – but within UKIP itself Nigel Farage is right to call for a federal United Kingdom: even a stopped clock tells the right time twice a day!”
“If, unlike the reactionary elitism of Cameron’s self-styled ‘effing Tories’, Farage is prepared to empower people from the bottom up, we are with him on that”, welcomed Hazell: “Obviously, as pro-Europeans we deplore UKIP’s determination to take Britain out of the EU. But we agree Britain must change from within. We must compensate for the demands of a globalised world. Cameron’s arrogant ‘top down’ politics, concentrating so much power and wealth in the hands of the few, must be replaced with real ‘bottom up’ politics: more real decisions in politics must be more localised.”
As the House of Commons prepares for possible recall, British PM David Cameron’s lack of judgment comes under ever closer scrutiny. “Cameron should have listened to Gordon Brown back in June. Cameron misjudged the underlying dynamics of the EU and Scottish referendums, choosing the wrong combination of questions. Scotland’s independence and Britain’s EU membership are closely entwined. We must now study carefully the Scottish campaign, if we are to avoid repeating mistakes during a future EU referendum”, noted Hazell.
“A British Basic Law, similar to Germany’s, would strengthen Britain’s regional identity and protect our sovereignty in the EU”, said Hazell: “Eight hundred years after the Magna Carta was signed in 1215, a new deal is needed to return power to the people: enshrining our rights in a British written constitution based on the principle of subsidiarity. We should urgently update Hansard Society proposals made in 1976, turbo-charging reform of the House of Commons and House of Lords. Strengthening links between the elected and the electorate is ever more essential.”
Outlining 4 Freedoms Party (UK EPP) proposals, Hazell presented the following ten suggestions for a federal Britain:-
1. marking the eight hundredth anniversary of the Magna Carta with a written Constitution for the British Federation (embracing all countries plus the English regions that make up the UK).
2. devolving no less power anywhere in the British Federation than will be given to Scotland if it remains part of the UK.
3. creating a new emphasis on ‘bottom up’ - not ‘top down’ - political power, with each country and English region responsible for all policy areas not specifically reserved to the British Federal Parliament and Government. This would resemble the successful Land federal structure in Germany.
4. electing representatives at all levels of government on a territorial basis, with proportionality achieved through top up lists.
5. capping the House of Commons at no more than 500 MPs.
6. limiting a reformed House of Peers to no more than 150 Peers, appointed by the British Federation’s countries and regions.
7. closing the Privy Council and creating a British Federal Constitutional Division of the Supreme Court.
8. mainly state funding political parties with transparent limits.
9. entrenching into the British Constitution the European Convention on Human Rights.
10. creating a new Council of Isles: representatives of the British Federation, its countries and regions, plus all other jurisdictions within the British Isles to be invited to regular, public meetings - building on the current British-Irish Council - to discuss matters of mutual interest and to promote greater co-operation.
“As a refreshing alternative, the pro-European 4 Freedoms Party (UK EPP) gives centre ground, centre-right pro-European people in the UK the chance to return to the heart of Europe, inside the mainstream EPP family. We will begin to repair the damage Cameron created. We believe in bringing people together, not driving them apart, and will strive for a modern constitution putting people first”, concluded Hazell. ENDS
New European's evidence - http://bit.ly/1ns1JYv - to the House of Commons Select Committee on voter engagement - http://bit.ly/1ePoEcc - shows that most non-British EU nationals in each of five reported London Boroughs were not allowed to vote in May's European election.
This is contrary to Articles 20(2)(b) and 22 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union.
83% of such voters were disenfranchised in two of these boroughs: Kensington and Chelsea and Hammersmith & Fulham.
Later today (Sat - 30 Aug), British PM David Cameron will join other EU leaders in Brussels for a special European Council meeting to discuss candidates for the next European Commission plus successors to EU Council President Herman Van Rompuy and EU foreign affairs chief Catherine Ashton. Coming after Cameron’s failed attempt to stop Jean-Claude Juncker becoming President of the European Commission, the leader of Britain’s new 4 Freedoms Party (UK EPP) Dirk Hazell said: “This key meeting will test Cameron’s ability to shape EU policy and to silence the growing influence of the UKIP militant tendency within the British Conservative Party.”
Last month (15 July) Cameron chose British peer Jonathan Hill as candidate to become Britain’s next European Commissioner, and now hopes to win a prize portfolio for the UK as EU leaders carve up Europe’s top jobs during Saturday’s working dinner in Brussels. “Socialist President of the European Parliament Martin Schulz is wrong to label Jonathan Hill as anti-European, but Cameron is not over the hill yet in Britain’s quest for a significant European Commission role. Next month’s European Parliament hearings are a rigorous process for all concerned”, noted Hazell.
This afternoon, EU Heads of State and Government and opposition leaders of the European People's Party (EPP), along with the Presidents of the European Council and the European Commission, will also gather for an EPP Summit. “Unfortunately, Cameron’s foolish decision to break links with the mainstream centre-right EPP means that, yet again, the UK’s voice will not be heard at this crucial pre-Council meeting. In contrast, Michael Howard - Cameron’s immediate predecessor as Tory leader - made sure that Britain was present during EPP negotiations”, explained Hazell.
Ever since William Hague first hosted the 1998 EPP Summit in Cardiff all Conservative leaders - bar Cameron - regularly took part so as to ensure UK interests were represented in the EPP. “As a past Tory party leader, William Hague - and his then-adviser George Osborne - will remember joining mainstream centre-right leaders at regular EPP Summits. Hague and Osborne must realise how serious a mistake Cameron made in ordering Tory MEPs to leave the EPP, surrendering valuable opportunities to shape European policy from within and setting the stage for deeper Tory schism”, stated Hazell.
“Instead, in 2005, Cameron placed leadership ambitions ahead of the national interest and sold out to Tory Euro-rebels. Heeding siren calls from former MEPs like Theresa Villiers and Robert Goodwill, Cameron pledged to order Conservative MEPs out of the mainstream centre-right EPP Group in return for votes from the UKIP militant tendency on the Tory backbenches. - British influence in the EU was further undermined before the summer recess, when Tory Euro-MPs recently defied Cameron’s alleged orders and went into alliance with anti-immigrant and anti-EU parties”.
As London region chairman for the Conservatives, Hazell witnessed first-hand the growing power of the UKIP militant tendency within Tory parliamentary ranks: “Cameron’s decision to sever relations with the Conservative’s natural centre-right European allies in the EPP significantly reduced the UK’s ability to shape European policies. Cameron needs to take control and face down UKIP-sympathisers like Daniel Hannan MEP who are determined to secure Brexit. Instead of taking Britain to the brink of Brexit, Cameron should be leading not leaving the EU”.
Ahead of this crucial EU Summit (Thurs - 28 Aug), in a strongly-worded comment piece for The Korea Herald, London School of Economics chairman and former World Trade Organisation boss Peter Sutherland warns: “Far from enhancing British influence, threats of withdrawal have undermined the Cameron government’s credibility and influence within the EU”. - The defection to UKIP by senior anti-EU Conservative MP Douglas Carswell further illustrates Cameron’s inability to heal the Conservative’s Euro-split for which his opportunism has exacerbated.
“As a refreshing alternative, the pro-European 4 Freedoms Party (UK EPP) gives centre ground, centre-right pro-European people in the UK the chance to be back at the heart of Europe, inside the mainstream EPP family. We will begin to repair the damage Cameron created. We believe in bringing people together, not driving them apart”, concluded Hazell.