Thursday, June 25, 2009

Cameron fulfils promise on EU

Something pretty important happened yesterday: a new group formed in the European Parliament. Hardly earth-shattering you may think, but this represents David Cameron meeting the promise he made during his leadership campaign, that Conservative MEPs would leave the vaguely rightwing European People's Party group and find a home more suited to the policy position of the British Conservative party. Why has it taken so long you may ask? The reason is that for a group to be a group with any real power in terms of the EU parliament it has to include members from 7 different nations and at least 25 members. This is a high hurdle and organisation had to wait until the recent European elections before such a coalition could be put together. The delay has meant ridicule from both ideological Euro-federalists and Europsceptics, both of whom share the common goal of not having an effective opposition in the European parliament. The former don't want anything disturbing the sense of inevitability about 'ever-closer union' while the latter want to avoid any comparisons with the antics of the UKIP MEPs, who haven't managed to form an official EU group in between living large on the taxpayers' shilling. Anyway, the point is the David Cameron has delivered, again. The further point, as Dan Hannan MEP articulates here, the European Parliament now has a, real, Conservative, opposition.