The EU manages to bottle up dissent from one source, such as Ireland by ramming through the second referendum on Lisbon but then finds that it springs up in another place. Britain at one time was always referred to as the hopeless case, not understanding the EU and having a large number of non-believers.
But just as Britain is at last managing to absorb scepticism, and cope with Europe by ignoring it and refusing to mention it, then what happens, but Germany, the country largely responsible for paying for all the bail-outs to save the Euro, takes over as the main home of Euro-doubt and opposition.
Open Europe explains – Writing in the WSJ, one of its editorial writers Daniel Schwammenthal argues: “hysterical complaints about alleged German euroskepticism bespeak a confused and ultimately undemocratic mindset. The idea that Berlin’s hesitancy to violate the EU’s no-bailout law could somehow be evidence of the country’s new anti-EU attitude has an Orwellian quality.
Once the need for a mega-bailout became consensus in the halls of Brussels, anybody who questioned the wisdom of such moral hazard automatically became a brute ‘euro-skeptic’ who lacks ‘solidarity.’ Any questions about the compatibility with European Union law and basic economic principles were swept aside.”
But while euroskeptics are more outspoken, the EU should not underestimate the determination of Conservatives and Liberal Democrats in combination (Labradoodles?!) to force any big decisions involving transfer of powers to be taken democratically.
Open Europe again –
According to Politics Home, William Hague, expected to be made the new Foreign Secretary later today, said the Conservatives and Lib Dems had agreed that they would create a legal guarantee for a referendum over any potential handover of powers to the EU. The coalition also agreed that the Government would not propose joining the euro.
Hague said, “Our approach has been to tackle the most difficult issues”, adding “Europe is one of those issues, it was not difficult to agree between us that we do, that neither party is in favour of handing any more powers to the European Union, but that we want from the outset of this Government, as I have always said, a positive approach, we will be active and activist from the very beginning in European Union affairs. We have also agreed that the British people will have the assurance that we will write into law, that if any government proposes handing future powers or sovereignty to the European Union there must be a referendum by law and that is the agreed policy of this coalition.”
Conservative backbencher Bill Cash yesterday told the BBC that defending UK sovereignty against furthers transfers of power to the EU was a “red line” issue for his party, warning that Conservative MPs would be watching out for any Lib Dem attempts to promote EU integration. He also said that a Conservative government would have resisted taking part in the ‘stabilisation’ bailout fund for the eurozone, agreed over the weekend, which has made British taxpayers liable for about €8 billion in potential loans to eurozone countries. However, the decision to activate the loans was made using majority voting and the Conservatives would not have been able to block it, even if they were in government.
Meanwhile Le Figaro reports on what French President Nicolas Sarkozy told UMP deputies last week: “If Cameron wins, he’ll do like the others, said the president. ‘He’ll start out anti-European and he’ll finish pro-European. That’s the rule’.”
We’ll see Nicolas. This time history is swinging the other way. Cameron might be the other way around, and Clegg certainly.