Conservatives criticise 'curate's egg' Merkel - she aims to raise the dead constitution just as Europe is crying out for economic reform

Strasbourg, 17 January 2007 — Chancellor Merkel’s vision for Europe, announced today in her first speech as President of the European Union, is like the curate’s egg - only parts of it are excellent - according to Sir Robert Atkins MEP, Deputy Leader of the Conservatives in the European Parliament.

Sir Robert said:

“Surely now is not the time to kick start a divisive and inward-looking constitutional debate. Rather, it is time for Europe to move forward with practical cooperation in the fields of climate change, economic reform, the fight against poverty in the developing world.

“David Cameron has said that it is because we Conservatives want to see a future for the EU and believe in a strong Europe that we want to see it confront its failings. Returning to the constitutional debate will demonstrate that we have not done so despite Mrs Merkel’s otherwise good intentions expressed today. It will simply reinforce a sense of alienation with Europe.

“When the former President of Germany, Mr Herzog, said he was deeply concerned at the centralising forces in the EU and the lack of national democratic control over what happens in Brussels, I think he spoke for many of us.

“There is much that the nations of the European Union can do working together. Our citizens will not understand and will not forgive us if Europe engages in yet more constitutional navel gazing.”

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