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Why do European political leaders continue to lecture British Conservatives about leaving the EPP?

Picture 2 Today's Guardian reports that the Swedish Prime Minister, Fredrik Reinfeldt (pictured), has openly criticised David Cameron's decision to take Conservative MEPs out of the EPP in Brussels and form a new eurosceptic grouping:

As Reinfeldt prepares to assume the rotating presidency of the EU on Wednesday, he says it is a pity Cameron has decided to leave the main centre-right grouping in the European parliament, the EPP-ED, adding that he will need to adopt a more pragmatic approach in government.

"If David Cameron becomes prime minister, part of what he wants to do in the world and Europe will need European structures," Reinfeldt says of Cameron's ambitions to tackle climate change. "I hope he will feel comfortable in working with other European leaders. He will need us. To address this issue he needs European leadership, not only British leadership."

Reinfeldt comes from the Swedish Moderate Party, which sits in the EPP in the Euroepan Parliament, and is by no means the first Centre-Right European leader to make an issue out of David Cameron's line on the EPP.  Within days of becoming Tory leader in 2005, he came under fire from Angela Merkel about it and Nicolas Sarkozy has also reportedly expressed concerns.

But why do they feel the need to keep making such interventions? Dare I suggest that it is not Britain's best interests which they have at heart, but rather those of the integrationist political class of Europe?

That is to say, when a serious political player on the European/world stage in the form of a British Conservative leader (and future Prime Minister) makes such a move, it surely makes it all the more likely that others will also realise that there is an alternative and join us in shattering the cosy federalist consensus.

Jonathan Isaby


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