EU solidarity will come with a price

Beware all the statements from EU leaders that the UK has their support over the Iranian attacks on UK embassy staff. There was yesterday an orchestrated PR attempt to show the EU is on the UK’s side. Of course they are and of course they should be, as the principle of diplomatic immunity is an important one which all sensible countries uphold in their own interests. If a country’s diplomats wrongly interfere in domestic politics in their host country they should be expelled, not locked up.

I suspect the UK and EU governments decided to use this diplomatic spat between the UK and Iran as an opportuntiy to arrange some favourable publicity for concerted EU action. I note that the action does not run to other EU countries breaking off diplomatic relations with Iran or doing more than telling Iran they do not approve. Doubtless the UK governemnt is smarting from the strong showing of anti EU government votes in the recent European elections, and thinks us hearing the President of France talking of solidarity will win us all over to Lisbon and yet more powers for the EU. Dream on. The more we hear of EU politicians seeking to take our right to self government away, the more we will vote against EU government.

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14 Comments

  1. Johnny Norfolk
    Posted July 4, 2009 at 7:17 am | Permalink

    It will be all talk and no action. We will get as much help as we did when we had the ERM problem. ie none.

  2. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted July 4, 2009 at 7:58 am | Permalink

    What moral or political authority to criticise the behaviour of any other country does the anti-democratic EU have when its own leadership forces the vote to be held again if a referendum in Europe does not produce their desired result?

    • jean baker
      Posted July 4, 2009 at 12:21 pm | Permalink

      Do you envisage the EU ‘forcing’ Nulabor to conform to it’s democratic obligation and duty to hold the long overdue Lisbon Treaty referendum ?

      • Brian Tomkinson
        Posted July 4, 2009 at 8:27 pm | Permalink

        Jean,
        Of course not.

  3. Stuart Fairney
    Posted July 4, 2009 at 8:25 am | Permalink

    Wow, the … mullahs must be utterly terrified that the Belgians don’t approve of them. EU foreign policy in action.

  4. Iain
    Posted July 4, 2009 at 8:38 am | Permalink

    Yes, you have voiced my suspicion about this so called solidarity.

  5. Mark
    Posted July 4, 2009 at 9:22 am | Permalink

    Despite the headline in The Times, the staff under threat are in fact locally engaged Iranians, not British diplomats, and therefore they don’t have the same protection of diplomatic immunity.

    There is a much wider issue over the employment of locally engaged staff in British embassies – something that has grown as a cost cutting measure. They now fulfil executive roles so that political analysis of a country and negotiations with it, the issue of visas, and the support of commercial activity are often undertaken by foreigners. In some cases there are reports of corruption becoming widespread in consular departments – not good for protecting Britain from immigrants who might prove unwelcome. The risks of political analysis and commercial activity being undermined, and of sensitive material being passed back by spies is greatly increased. The EU dimension merely adds another layer to an already unsatisfactory situation.

  6. Citizen Responsible
    Posted July 4, 2009 at 10:01 am | Permalink

    Likewise, at last month’s EU summit, where there were European regulatory proposals to transfer control of the City of London to Brussels, Gordon Brown apparently stopped it happening. I suspect that Mandelson asked the EU to postpone this to help GB and to keep us quiet until after the Treaty of Lisbon comes into force next January. Then it will be back on the agenda.

  7. Publius
    Posted July 4, 2009 at 10:11 am | Permalink

    EU solidarity is achieved only by doing nothing about anything. We have fudged “agreements” about less and less, in order to create the illusion of unity. And the only strong and clear words ever spoken are when there is absolutely nothing at all at stake.

  8. APL
    Posted July 4, 2009 at 11:40 am | Permalink

    JR: “Beware all the statements from EU leaders that the UK has their support ..”

    The EU has no backbone nor any teeth. We would be well shot of it interfering in the external affairs of the United Kingdom.

  9. Adrian Peirson
    Posted July 4, 2009 at 5:06 pm | Permalink

    Diplomatic Immunity does not mean deliberately interfereing in the affairs of a sovereign nationwe should stop interfering.

  10. Yorkshireman
    Posted July 4, 2009 at 8:29 pm | Permalink

    I don’t see much of our EU “partners” solidarity in Afghanistan.

    The EU paper tiger will talk the talk but will never walk the walk for Britain.

    Germany’s high level of trade with Iran will soon prevent them from supporting Britain if ever this dispute escalates.

  11. Freeborn John
    Posted July 6, 2009 at 12:51 pm | Permalink

    What do the Conservatives plan to do about the Lisbon treaty’s foreign and security policy if it is ratified when they come to office? There are significant provisions in Lisbon, such as qualified majority on proposals made by the EU foreign minister.

    The only suggestions i have seen the Conservatives make for negotiating the return of powers from Brussels are in the area of employment and social policy. This suggests that the Conservatives would accept the Lisbon Treaty’s foreign and security policy changes, including an EU foreign minster in all but name, who would speak on our behalf in the UN Security Council whenever there is an agreed EU position, who would run an EU diplomatic service, and where decisions on the ‘implementation’ of EU foreign policy would be taken by QMV.

    Reply: As I understand the official position, it is to oppose all the transfer of powers in Lisbon as well as seeking powers like employment and social policy back from previous give aways.

  12. Ken Worthy
    Posted July 11, 2009 at 2:24 pm | Permalink

    How can a Conservative Government oppose the transfers of powers in the Treaty of Lisbon? The treaty will have been ratified by all Governments and the Irish bludgeoned into backing down, long before Cameron takes power. The EU has already started to implement the Treaty – in fact they started to implement its almost-identical predecessor, the EU Constitution, almost as soon as the French and Dutch voters had finished voting against it. Democratic legitimacy has never worried the EU – you can’t trust voters to get the right answer.
    Cameron says he “will not let matters rest” if the Treaty has already been implemented. This makes excellent sense in PR terms. He clearly doesn’t want to get drawn into a bitter argument on the EU before an election – too Old Tory for him. However all that it says about what he will actually do about it seems to amount to “trust me”. Somehow it doesn’t inspire much confidence.

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    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

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