United Kingdom: David Cameron, free to love Europe

Some day all this could be yours. David Cameron visits Angela Merkel in Berlin, 21 May 2010
Some day all this could be yours. David Cameron visits Angela Merkel in Berlin, 21 May 2010
The Independent (London)

Thanks to his coalition with the Liberal Democrats, the new British PM is no longer a hostage to eurosceptic elements within his own party. This is an opportunity for him to take advantage of current divisions within the EU and make the UK a driving force in Europe.

Here is a conundrum. Tony Blair promised to be most pro-European prime minister since Edward Heath. He left Britain marginalised and distrusted in the European Union. (As a result of the Gulf War; the attempt to split Europe on Old and New Rumsfeldian lines; the Realpolitik lies about French policy on Iraq.)

David Cameron leads the most viscerally anti-Brussels, large, parliamentary party since Britain joined the EU. He could become the prime minister who reconciles the British people with Europe and gives Britain a consistently positive leadership role in Brussels for the first time.

He could, but that is not to say that he will.

The card game of British and European politics – evènements, mon cher garçon evènements – has dealt Cameron a rather interesting hand. A month ago many people foresaw that a Cameron Tory government would try to do as little as possible in Europe but that – harried by a fiercely Eurosceptic new parliamentary party – he would be pushed into a series of bruising disputes with EU partners.

Cameron now finds himself as leader of a coalition government with the very pro-European Lib Dems. His deputy PM, Nick Clegg, is a former European Commission official and Euro MP. Cameron's first foreign trip as Prime Minister was to Europe, where President Nicolas Sarkozy flattered him and Chancellor Angela Merkel called him "du" and "David" (but not yet "Dave"). Read full article in The Independent...

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