We are no closer to knowing what the “new settlement” which Prime Minister Cameron proclaimed 15 months ago will actually contain, writes Schadenfreude, our secret columnist in Brussels.
It’s all very puzzling.
A kind friend has sent Schadenfreude the Conservative Party leaflet about the upcoming the European Union election.
It states that Conservatives stand for “bringing power back to Britain and away from Brussels.” In the exposition it there are four objectives.
1) Keeping our border controls and cracking down on benefit tourism.
Another section says that we have done as much as we can under current EU agreements. The implication is that there is more to come.
2) Securing more trade, not an “ever closer union”
More trade with whom ? The EU gives us the single market. “Ever closer union” does not inhibit trade. Dropping that time–honoured slogan does not give us more trade. It also makes no practical difference to the workings of the European Union
3) Taking back control of Justice and Home Affairs.
This is already happening, selectively under powers conferred by the Lisbon Treaty. It was a success story then but is old hat now.
It is perhaps worth recording that the British laid the modest foundations of what became this chapter of EEC involvement. In 1990 they were quite keen on central immigration controls and police co-operation.
4) Getting a better deal for British tax-payers by cutting the cost of Europe.
Another section, headed “What we did” says that Conservatives have already cut the EU budget. Is this work in progress ?
All things considered we are no closer to knowing what the “new settlement” which Prime Minister Cameron proclaimed 15 months ago will contain by way of “bringing power back to Britain and away from Brussels.” Time marches on.