Mr President

Herman van Rompuy has just been nominated (note: not elected) as the new President of Europe.

Who? Quite. This man, not even a household name in his own household (and known as the “grey mouse” in his own country) is the current Prime Minister of Belgium. He owes his job largely to the fact that he is not Tony Blair. He is a compromise candidate, acceptable to the majority of the governments of the European Union. He wouldn’t have had this job at all, had Gordon Brown allowed this country the referendum which he and Tony Blair promised us on the European Constitution / Lisbon Treaty, because there would have been no job to appoint him to.

I do not want to be represented by this man. In the words beloved of certain leftists, his appointment is not in my name. I want to elect the person who represents me. I want to be able to vote to chuck him out if he proves no good at his job. I can’t with Mr van Rompuy. And that, I’m afraid, is one of the many things that are wrong with the European Union. It is fundamentally undemocratic. Indeed its attitude to democratic elections is that it ignores those which do not coincide with its leaders’ views of where it should be going. Look at Ireland. They didn’t want the Lisbon Treaty so they were given a few concessions and told to vote again. Their economy is in ruins. They could not afford to refuse.

One of the greatest tests of the next Conservative government, should we win the next election, will be whether they can completely re-negotiate our relationship with Europe. Our European colleagues for the most part appear to want a very different organisation to that envisaged by most electors in this country. Let them have it. It is not for us to tell our neighbours what to do. We should so completetly re-negotiate our relationship with the EU that we have a relationship similar to that enjoyed by Switzerland and Norway. Full participation in the single market, and co-operation on cross-border crime, but no more.


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