Last week a friend of mine attended an event in the City at which David Cameron spoke. He committed a future Conservative government to withdraw from the EU Social Chapter. I hadn't heard him do this before but I am told it was not new and he had said it on several occasions before. Today, Cameron is in Brussels and will be lambasting the EU for promoting a 'culture of hopelessness'. He will be meeting the two prime promoters of hopelessness, Peter Mandelson and Jose Manuel Barrosso. He'll be saying...
"Last year the EU made helping lift Africa out of poverty a priority. But many of the EU's policies are making poverty in developing countries worse. The EU remains committed to a largely unreformed CAP, an economic and humanitarian disaster which pushes up food prices for the poorest people in Europe and helps lock the developing world in poverty. And the EU still has higher trade barriers against poor countries than it does against rich. That's not good enough and it needs to change.
"The EU has not had its accounts signed off for 11 years in a row. The Commission continues to use an accounting system that the EU's former Chief Accountant says is wide open to fraud. If a company director failed to sign off accounts for 11 years, they would probably be heading for jail. It's not good enough and it's got to change.
"Europe's Kyoto target is to reduce carbon emissions by 8 per cent by 2012. But with just six years to go, carbon emissions are down by less than 1 per cent. Twelve member states have actually gone backwards and increased their emissions. The EU is set to miss its Kyoto emission targets. That's not good enough and it's got to change.
"In 2000 Europe's leaders said they would make the EU the most competitive knowledge-based economy in the world by 2010. EU politicians repeated their call for economic reform in 2002, 2003, 2004 and 2005. But since 1998 new EU regulations have cost business £37 billion.
"We will be the champions for real change in Europe. We are a new generation. We have no time for the culture of hopelessness that has plagued the way the EU has often attempted to address the big global challenges we face. It's because we want to see a future for the EU and believe in a strong Europe that we want to make the EU confront its failings. The next generation of Europeans wants a continent to be proud of. They want Europe to be a force for good, to lead by example, to be a shining symbol of progress. And they want to reach out with enthusiasm to the countries that aspire to join the EU."
Cameron will also be meeting British Conservative MEPs. I hope he will use the meeting to remind some of them that they do actually call themselves Conservatives. It would be great if he would also tell them they will all be up for re-selection next year and they will ALL have to face an open selection.