Vol 1, No 17
18 October 1999

Symbol of Europe's capital
Aiming to please Brussels
E U   U P D A T E:
Tory Threat to EU Expansion?

Nikhat Rasheed

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
"All Britain's problems have come from continental Europe."

BBC: Tories demand "pick and choose" Europe
Conservative leader William Hague has called for more flexibility in the United Kingdom's relationship with the Europe Union, including the right to opt out of legislation.

The Times: Hague's hard line on Europe
Hague hardens line on Europe with threat to veto EU treaty.

BBC: Eurosceptics speak at the conference
Tories vow to rewrite EU membership terms.

The Times: Hague must come clean on Europe
The Tories' position on Europe is designed to have it both ways: to create as strong a Eurosceptic impression as possible without appearing hostile to Britain remaining firmly part of the EU.

BBC: Conservative leader William Hague's views at the Conservative Party conference
Hague's new tough line on Europe has been branded an "empty threat" by former deputy prime minister Michael Heseltine.

The Guardian: Tories in turmoil
Their European war is out of control.

Steve Richards in the New Statesman: Tories are (quite) united
On Europe the Conservatives are probably more united than Labour. After speaking to activists I would estimate that 95 per cent of them are Eurosceptics...

BBC: Defending Europe br>Q&A: Britain in Europe

Political leaders in The Guardian: Making the case for a generation
Extracts from speeches given by Tony Blair, Michael Heseltine and Charles Kennedy at the launch of Britain in Europe in London.

Poly Toynbee in The Guardian: Coming up to Europe
The prime minister still seems to hang back, but all the other forces in favour of euro-entry are now present.

Hugo Young in The Guardian: Strike a blow for Europe - defeat the reign of terror
New Labour must seize the initiative on the euro today not tomorrow.

And, meanwhile, in a Cabinet reshuffle, Keith Vaz was appointed Minister of State for European Affairs:
BBC report

This selection of links was prepared by:
Nikhat Rasheed, 15 October 1999



EU Flag
EU Turning Point: Helsinki on the Horizon

EC Progress
Report Summary

First Wave
Group Meets

Brussels or Bust

Czechs Continue to Ignore EC Criticism

UK Threat to Expansion

Lacklustre Czechs


Jan Culik:
Reminiscing Czech Revolutionaries

Catherine Lovatt:
Romanian Godfathers

Sam Vaknin:
The Myth of Greater Albania

Tomas Pecina:
Czech Honesty Does Not Pay

Vaclav Pinkava:
Chaos Theory,
Czech Style


Farocki and Ujica's Videograms of a Revolution





Copyright (c) 1999 - Central Europe Review and Internet servis, a.s.
All Rights Reserved