“There is a positive agenda for the EU which I describe as the 3 P’s: people, planet and poverty. De-regulation and economic reform would give people in Europe a better chance of prosperity...Kind of cheesy - but basically good.
...Co-operation on the environment and the Emissions Trading System to reduce carbon emissions would help improve the environment of the planet...Er... yeah, "cooperation on the environment" might be good if it was going to be a good way to reduce carbon emissions. Unfortunately the EU's ETS delivers increased pollution at incredible cost.
"...And pushing for a WTO deal to reduce tariffs will help reduce poverty in the developing world."Uh huh. The tories need to get stuck in more on this. But it needs a bit more edge than, "lets all have a WTO deal" though - everyone is in favour of that.
“But a negative agenda for the EU would be the inward looking ambition of bringing back the EU Constitution which has already been rejected. The Constitution has been both distracting and disruptive and it represents the wrong direction for the EU. The Conservative Party will not support a Constitution that is about transferring more power to the EU. Any such Constitution would have to be put to a referendum in Britain and we would vigorously campaign for a no vote.”That's fairly carefully worded - but at least they are thinking about calling for a referendum, which is a good start.
"I absolutely agree with Edmund Stoiber when he says irrespective of the differences about the EPP issue, there should be a close co-operation of a formal nature between the CDU/ CSU Parties and the Conservative Party.”
Overall they are doing quite well in terms of repositioning the way they handle Europe: basically out goes the naff digital pound clock, in come (better) arguments about the EU's appalling trade policy vis-a-vis developing countries. Still, it needs a lot more "bite" and to be made into a "campaign." There is far too much cackhanded "triangulation" - the determination to balance every criticism of the EU with a pledge to be in favour of something else. (e.g. as one tory researcher told us re the ETS: "we want to be in favour of this"). Having a positive agenda is right. Translating that into support for various doomed EU projects isn't.