Thursday, April 3, 2008

Miliband builds on government's increasingly pro-European stance

Patrick Wintour focused on David Miliband's Mansion House speech in yesterday's Guardian, suggesting the government is entering into a new pro-European era, following the Lisbon Treaty’s smooth path through the Commons.

Miliband is arguing that rather than being a threat to the UK's foreign policy or economy, a strong EU will enhance both as it increases our links with countries within and outside the EU.

Wintour is right to assert that the government is becoming increasingly braver with regards to actually talking about Europe, something it has sometimes been reluctant to do in the past. Wintour mentions Gordon Brown's recent visit to Brussels but at Labour's Spring Conference he also made it clear that it is only within the EU that Britain can achieve its objectives on climate change, development, trade and security – all areas where he noted Europe was leading the way.

As Denis MacShane has said before all this suggests that Europe has once again become a major dividing line between the parties, and crucially it is one that works to Labour’s advantage.

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