Vol 1, No 17
18 October 1999
Tory Threat to EU Expansion?
Despite the impression last week's Progress Report might give, EU expansion is not something decided only in Brussels and the capitals of the hopeful applicants. Events in all the member states of the EU can have a serious affect on the expansion process. The Austrian elections were just one recent example; the Conservative Party conference in the UK is another.
Over the past few weeks, the European Union has been at the top of the agenda in the UK. The opposition Conservative Party took a hard, Eurosceptic line at its annual conference, and Margaret Thatcher weighed in with an incredible declaration that all the UK's problems came from Europe. This time, what seems to be at issue is more than the regular wrangling over Britain's possible entry into the single currency; some leading Tories seem to be questioning the very idea of the UK in Europe.
The relevance for Central and Eastern Europe is that the Conservatives have threatened to disrupt EU work unless a more flexible Union treaty is negotiated. Thus, if the Conservative Party were to come to power in the UK, their willingness to use their veto to attain "flexibility" would certainly impede the massive project of Eastward expansion. Prominent UK Europhiles from all three major parties have responded by supporting a "Britain in Europe" campaign.
The following links will help you follow the story in the British press:
BBC: Baroness Thatcher's (and others') views on Europe
BBC: Tories demand "pick and choose" Europe
The Times: Hague's hard line on Europe
BBC: Eurosceptics speak at the conference
The Times: Hague must come clean on Europe
BBC: Conservative leader William Hague's views at the Conservative Party conference
The Guardian: Tories in turmoil
Steve Richards in the New Statesman: Tories are (quite) united
BBC: Defending Europe br>Q&A: Britain in Europe
Political leaders in The Guardian: Making the case for a generation
Poly Toynbee in The Guardian: Coming up to Europe
Hugo Young in The Guardian: Strike a blow for Europe - defeat the reign of terror
And, meanwhile, in a Cabinet reshuffle, Keith Vaz was appointed Minister of State for European Affairs:
This selection of links was prepared by:
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