George Eustice: EU faces ultimate comms nightmare

This week, David Cameron used his speech to the Lord Mayor's Banquet to set out his stall on the future of the EU.

George Eustice: EU faces ultimate comms nightmare
George Eustice: EU faces ultimate comms nightmare

He said the EU was in peril, that powers needed to ebb back rather than flow away and that petty interference and regulation from Brussels needed to end.

Last week, Labour MP Douglas Alexander also made the first steps towards recalibrating the Labour position on Europe amid internal fears they have been overtaken by events and that the slavish policy of the Blair era had run its course.

The current state of flux within the Eurozone creates the ultimate comms nightmare.

The truth is that no-one knows where it will all end up or what might happen next. Maybe the euro will disintegrate within the next nine months, maybe it won't.

Would the EU survive the meltdown of the euro? Some economists say that the collapse of the euro would be a hammer blow to the European economy, others say it is actually part of the answer. And at the end of this will the EU continue down the road to failure or learn from its mistakes and change course?

No single EU leader is in control and all of them are, to a very large extent, at the mercy of events and market sentiment. A fast-moving story where each development demands a public response can leave you sending out mixed messages. Added to that, leaders need to exercise caution because the things they say can spook the markets. Cameron has adopted a stance that underlines the direction of travel he wants to see emerge from this mess, while avoiding being too prescriptive about solutions, at least in public. Arguing for fundamental reform of the EU and linking that to the imminent threat to its very existence is right, while the use of the term 'ebb and flow' in relation to the EU's powers was a tacit acknowledgement that change might not come as quickly as he would like.

There will be relief within government that its showdown with backbenchers over the referendum motion in October caused no lasting damage but also an understanding that, behind the public message, a clear plan is required.

George Eustice is Conservative MP for Camborne and Redruth and a former press secretary to David Cameron.

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