We keep being told that the tide of opinion in Europe is coming our way. It doesn’t look that way in terms of the new EPP leadership. The MEPs within the European Peoples’ Party – of which the Tories are (controversially) still members – has elected a French farmer, Joseph Daul, to succeed the retiring Hans-Gert Poettering. Daul is a well-known protectionist who has been supportive of President Chirac’s assertive attempts to protect French industry. When he was Chairman of France’s National Association of Beef Farmers he campaigned for the continuation of the ban on British beef long after the EU had called for it to be lifted. He is a great defender of the Common Agricultural Policy – saying that he believes it has been crucial to the beauty of Europe’s countryside. Unlike Poettering he is not an Atlanticist and is one of only a handful of MEPs who doesn’t speak English. As an MEP close to Strasbourg he defends the wasteful existence of two homes for the European Parliament. It almost goes without saying that he is also a supporter of the euro and the rejected EU Constitution.
Editor’s conclusion: "Tory MEPs cannot leave the EPP fast enough!"