I have come across this letter from Dr Roy Spendlove to his opposite number in the Foreign Office, Marc Notte
In my capacity as Head of Special Projects I find developing and preserving good relations with our partners in the EU is fundamental to the work we do. As you will appreciate, we so often need EU permission to go ahead with projects. We may need consent to suspend state aid rules, we may need a waiver on EU competition rules, we may need understanding over changes to specially designated EU planning zones, we may need access to EU money and we may need to co-operate with other countries and EU companies to bring our task to fruition. The EU does now lay down much of our environmental, industrial , trade and energy policies, as well as of course maintaining its lead role in fishing and farming. We should keep stressing how crucial EU trade is to our wellbeing.
I am finding in recent months that it is more difficult now to gain consent and to preserve the necessary friendly relations with continental colleagues, owing to the new aggressive Eurosceptic tone coming from some parts of the government. We look to the Foriegn Office to do more to stress to Ministers the need to preserve and foster good relations. We do not wish to lose our reputation as a better European, which was much cultivated by the previous government. Their approach of going along with most of the EU plans for new laws and further integration helped a great deal. Their realism over open borders, over the Treaties of Nice, Amsterdam and Lisbon, and their welcome for EU legislation in areas a diverse as the environment and the finance sector got over some of the damage done to our relationships by the rows over the Euro after Maastricht.
Today my opposite numbers in France and Germany express concern that the UK has for the first time refused to join in a new Treaty at all, preventing the rest of the EU from using the EU framework for the Fiscal Treaty they are planning. Whilst they can get round this problem, it is a legal nuisance for them that they have not faced before. They are unhappy about the way the UK government places the concerns of the City of London above the need for better centralised banking controls through the ECB and the European Banking Agency. They are particularly unhappy about the UK’s refusal to assist with the new bail out funds needed by the poorer EU countries. The Germans have some more sympathy with the UK’s refusal to counteance any increase in the EU budget, but this is causing considerable antagonism amongst the majority of member states. There are worries now that the UK is moving away from proper observance of the EU climate and energy policies with its new emphasis on carbon based gas. There is relief that the UK is still accepting the common borders, a crucial part of the whole move towards greater union.
I am writing to make sure you are aware of this rising tide of discontent with the UK in the EU. We look to the FCO to steady the position. Could you perhaps get Foreign Office Ministers to make speeches reaffirming the importance of our EU membership, and mitigating the attacks upon the EU position that some see in recent decisions and positions adopted by the Coalition government? I appreciate that the Foreign Secretary always used to confirm that membership of the EU is in the UK’s national interest. Today the Prime Minister has changed this position to the much more alarming statement that the UK needs a new relationship with the EU. It is most important to make sure the FCO does not seek a major renegotiation before the next General Election. This would be especially destabilising, threatening to destroy the good work we have all put in over the last decade to build new bridges to Europe and to become good Europeans. Whilst we of course remain strictly neutral on political matters, we do need to plan for the possible return of a Labour government as UKIP claims to be able to stop the Conservatives getting a majority. It is important that such a replacement government reverses the policy of seeking a new relationship and abandons ideas of opting out and loosening ties. Current Labour policy is more committed to our European membership.