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Cameron sleepwalks towards Europe's exit

The timing of the government's demise could mark the difference between a serious argument about Britain's relationship with Brussels and a rupture that would set in train its eventual departure.

It is clear to all that Mr Cameron wants to derail the process of European integration. His decision to withdraw from the European People's party, the European parliament's mainstream centre-right group, is a step in that direction. By aligning with a hotchpotch of small far-right parties, Mr Cameron has downgraded his party's relationship with its French and German cousins.

To move Britain to the sidelines of influence is one thing. To threaten to blow up the Lisbon accord is another. This is what Mr Cameron proposes by pledging to campaign for its rejection in a British referendum. And this is where the timing of the general election really matters.


the consequences would be monumental. Mr Cameron might argue that earlier versions of the treaty were rejected in referendums in France, the Netherlands and Ireland. But these were not conscious acts of government.

Withdrawal from the EPP is a Tory shot across the bows of European integrationists. Wrecking the Lisbon treaty would be a declaration of war. Such would be the crisis in Britain's relationship with its partners that it would precipitate compelling calls for a re-evaluation of its membership of the EU. Many Conservatives, one suspects, would cheer.

The Serious People are not Amused.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Tue Jun 9th, 2009 at 11:35:19 AM EST
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