Quick note about Cameron, as the decision on the future of the Conservative MEPs in the EPP-ED group in the European Parliament has now been taken. The aim will be to establish a new eurosceptic group after the EP elections in 2009. Looks like the decision has been kicked into the long grass? David Rennie’s blog seems to think that the leave-the-EPP-ED side is the happier. News on the announcement from the BBC here, and a bland announcement in return from the EPP here.
Simply put, it seems Cameron has managed to keep everyone reasonably happy, or at least not grumpy. It became clear that working with Law & Justice in Poland was untenable, and that Topolanek and the ODS in Czech Republic did not want to move now. It looks like a fudge, but what other option was there? Sadly, this has not damaged Cameron as much as I might have liked. It will be interesting to see what the Tories promise in their manifesto for the 2009 Euro-elections now!
[UPDATED: 24 July 2006]
Channel 4’s FactCheck website has an excellent analysis here of what Cameron did and did not say about the Tories leaving the EPP-ED. They highlight very clearly the degree of fudge that was involved in all of what he said.
Is there the pressure for this on the left as well? Maybe to a certain extent… It’s simply that the pressure within the EP is to cooperate so you get rapporteurs, chair positions in Committees etc., so it’s hard to force things apart. Further, if the EPP-ED group had someone a bit more inspirational than Poettering as the leader, there could even be new coherency to the group?
What price a substantial realignment of EP groups after 2009 with a major shift in the existing hegemony of PES and EPP?