Nicolas Sarkozy, the French president, is to deliver a firm warning to David Cameron that the Conservatives risk forfeiting vital French co-operation on energy, defence and the economy if they refuse to engage over the future of Europe.On the subject of the EDA and its surreptitious activity the best person to read is the Boss on EUReferendum. He has written a great deal and there is no need for me to copy any of it.
In an attempt to lure the Conservatives into a friendlier stance, Sarkozy may be willing to offer concessions over the future of the European defence agency, seen by the party as the incubator for a future European defence force.
Sarkozy is due to meet Cameron on Friday after a working lunch with Gordon Brown in Downing Street. Sarkozy has developed close relations with Brown.
The EDA was set up in 2004 to develop European military capability and armament co-operation.
There are, however, other issues here. In the first place, it is of interest that President Sarkozy thinks it is his job to dictate policy to the possible next government of the United Kingdom. But then, the truth is that it is his job. He is part of this country's government as are all the other 25 members of the European Council. So David Cameron had better listen.
A more interesting question is why does President Sarkozy think it is necessary to warn the Conservatives. Surely he does not think that they are about to turn eurosceptic or try to work for Britain's interests or, even, offer a referendum on anything to do with that noxious organization, the European Union. He obviously has not been in communication with the Shadow Foreign Secretary (and who can blame him for that) who said the following (the Guardian leads on the report and the article gets some incredibly stupid and ignorant responses but then what can you expect from Guardianistas):
The fourth theme of Conservative Foreign policy is the effective reform, use and development of international institutions and here we must start in our immediate neighbourhood.You have to scroll a fair way down in the speech to find this, so it is interesting that the Guardian picked up on that. Presumably they want more votes to go to UKIP.
The European Union is obviously an institution of enormous importance to the United Kingdom and its foreign policy. The Conservative Party has seldom shied away from frank criticism when we have thought the EU collectively has been getting things wrong but we have equally been the foremost champions of the EU's greatest achievements: the Single Market and enlargement.
If we win the coming general election, it is our firm intention that a Conservative government will be active and activist in the European Union from day one, energetically engaging with our partners. We will be highly active in furthering the Single Market, in promoting European co-operation on the environment and climate change, on energy security, on pressing for freer and fairer global trade that will benefit not just the peoples of Europe but the world's poorest who have not enjoyed the gains of globalisation.
We will uphold our conviction that the widening of the European Union, including to Turkey, is in Europe's collective interest.
The EU's future 2020 strategy on jobs and growth will, if we get it right, have an important contribution to enhancing Europe's competitiveness. The European Conservatives and Reformists Group's submission on the Strategy is a valuable contribution to the debate.
The point is that it is all the same old blah: co-operation, heart of Europe, reform from within, blah, blah. At the same time, Mr Hague's earlier comments about Britain's relationship with other countries such as the United States, Australia, Russia and China (to pick some at random, which he seems to have done) indicate that he still does not understand what being in the European Union is all about. Well, let us hope, President Sarkozy can set him right.