Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Open Europe press summary: 6 October 2009


Cameron denies rifts within Conservative Party on Europe
The FT reports that London Mayor Boris Johnson said that if the Lisbon Treaty was ratified when a Conservative government was formed, it would not stop the Conservatives putting "key parts" of the Treaty to a public vote.

The paper reports that Shadow Home Affairs Minister Andrew Rosindell told the BBC that voters "want a referendum whatever the circumstances and I think that that is something the British people have a right to expect."

PA reports David Cameron has sought to play down any suggestion of a rift within the Conservative Party over a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty. In response to Boris Johnson's calls for a retrospective referendum on the Treaty, Mr Cameron is quoted saying that "Boris knows the situation here. We all know the situation here. We all want a referendum. We all feel incredibly frustrated. We want that referendum and I will go on pushing for that referendum and the best way to hold that referendum is if other countries are still discussing it."

The FT reports that Shadow Business Secretary Kenneth Clarke, when asked what role he would play in any potential campaign during a referendum on the Treaty, said "I will wait to see if we have a referendum and I will see if either side invites me." He later stressed that he "wouldn't contemplate campaigning against my colleagues."

The Telegraph reports that Shadow Foreign Secretary William Hague told the Conference that a Conservative government would alter the law to ensure any future transfer of power to the EU would require a referendum.

The Mail reports that former Foreign Secretary Malcolm Rifkind said it would be "absurd" to accept demands for a referendum if the Treaty had already been ratified.

The Telegraph reports that one option for the Conservatives would be to call a referendum, asking voters if they want powers returned, then use a subsequent "Yes" vote as a mandate for taking a hard line in negotiations with other EU states.

Meanwhile, in a letter to the Guardian, Europe Minister Glenys Kinnock argues that the Conservatives' plans to adopt a "pick-and-mix" approach to Britain's EU membership is absurd. She argues that the engagement of a Labour government on aspects of the Social Chapter has benfitied millions of British workers.

Writing in the Guardian, Martin Kettle argues that a "Blair EU presidency and a Cameron premiership may even managed to detoxify the European question in British politics".

In the Times, Rachel Sylvester notes that, "off the record, Senior Cabinet ministers say there is no way the Conservatives would spend their first months in power faffing about with a referendum on Europe if the Lisbon Treaty had already been ratified."
Times: Sylvester Guardian Guardian 2 Guardian: Letters EUobserver Times Times 2 Gavin Hewitt

Open Europe's Stephen Booth is quoted in El Pais in a story about the EU's funding for surveillance projects.
El Pais

Open Europe's Sarah Gaskell is quoted in a Slovak daily on the Conservatives' Europe policy.
New poll shows most voters would oppose Tony Blair becoming EU President
The Mail reports that Italy is supporting Tony Blair to become the EU's first President, a position that would be created under the Lisbon Treaty, but that Britain's stance on immigration could be a problem, for example its failure to sign up to the Schengen agreement which allows free movement inside the EU without a passport.

However, a new Populus poll for the Times has found that a majority of voters would oppose the appointment. Over half the public, 53 percent, say that they would not like to see Mr Blair take the post, with 43 percent saying that they would approve of his appointment. However, just 20 percent argue that, if Mr Blair becomes EU President, it would be bad for British interests in Europe. By contrast, 30 percent say it would be good for British interests, and 47 percent say it would make no real difference. Mail Times FT AFP Scotsman

EU leaders push for more farm subsidies despite reform pledge
Swedish news site Europaportalen reports that EU leaders yesterday discussed increases in subsisides for EU dairy farmers as thousands of farmers took to the streets in Brussels, protesting against falling milk prices. The sites notes that after July, the EU had already bought more than 80,000 tonnes of butter and 230,000 tonnes of milk, which farmers had not been able to sell. France, Germany and several other member states want to extend the EU's controversial intervention buying and export subsidies in the dairy sector indefinitely. They also want to reduce milk quotas in an attempt to push up milk prices. The subsidies and quotas were meant to be phased out as a part of a reform package of the EU's Common Agricultural Policy, which Tony Blair was given in exchange for giving up part of the British rebate from the EU budget in 2005.
No link

The FT reports that a European Commission proposal, to be released today, will say that Europe will fail to meet its climate change goals and risks falling behind in green technology unless governments spend an extra 50 billion euros on research over the next decade.
No link

In the FT, Gideon Rachman argues that the G20 is a global version of a European Union summit and that therefore, EU leaders have an advantage over other world leaders.
FT: Rachman

In the FT Philip Stephens argues that the Conservative Party's opposition to the Lisbon Treaty may hurt UK-US relations.
FT: Stephens

The Guardian reports that, at the Conservative Party Conference, Shadow Business Secretary Kenneth Clarke argued that Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso had done more to deregulate that any British minister, saying "Barroso has made more progress [on deregulation] than any British government - eagerly declaring an interest in regulation - has managed domestically so far."
Guardian: Kettle

The Times reports that traffic will be banned from London's busiest streets on hot days to comply with European rules on air quality. The measures will be introduced to avoid a £300 milion fine.

The Times reports that the proposal for an EU-wide carbon tax on road fuel is gaining support among other EU countries, although Britain is opposed to the plan.
No link

Steve Richards argues in the Independent that taking the Conservatives out of the European Parliament's EPP grouping will be one of Cameron's "great regrets".

Open Europe is an independent think tank campaigning for radical reform of the EU. For information on our research, events and other activities, please visit our website: openeurope.org.uk or call us on 0207 197 2333.

No comments: