In Brussels today David Cameron is billed to make a strong attack on the European Union’s "culture of hopelessness" (Daily Mail). His four priorities for EU policy are summarised in the box on the right (click on it to enlarge) and are on conservatives.com. They neatly combine Euroscepticism with modernising messages on the environment and poverty.
It is no accident that Mr Cameron has chosen to make this Eurosceptic speech one day after his first anniversary as Tory leader. The speech the day before the anniversary – on education – although it disappointed in media terms was, like this one, intended to reassure traditional Conservative voters that David Cameron shared a commitment to the same issues.
After promising a grittier Conservatism in year two of his leadership to BBC’s Nick Robinson, the Conservative leader promised a ‘change of gear’ to Tory MPs at a special parliamentary gathering last night.
At a meeting with Conservative MEPs later today he is expected to say that he remains determined to lead them out of the EPP after the next European Parliamentary Elections. He will encourage Timothy Kirkhope’s team to accelerate efforts to build deeper links with the Czech ODS (our principal partners in that endeavour) and to develop a new agenda for Europe within the Movement for European Reform (the grouping intended to lay the groundwork for the new ODS-Tory grouping). Eurosceptic MEPs complain that Timothy Kirkhope is doing little to prepare the ground for EPP exit.