Eurosceptics at the Conservative Party Conference [+ Video]
Cross party Eurosceptics at fringe event agrees on the problem but finds little in common when it comes to tactics and language.
As the Eurozone announced the fruits of their latest and bravest attempt to take collective responsibility for the economic future of the continent (the launch of a new, permanent, fund to bail out struggling Eurozone economies) John Redwood MP (Conservative, Wokingham) and Professor Tim Congdon, economic spokesperson for the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) took to the platform at a Conservative Party Conference fringe event entitled "How should Britain exit the EU?”
The European Stability Mechanism (ESM), that came into effect on Monday, will have a full lending capacity of 500bn euros (£400bn). To start it will run in tandem with the European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF) and by 2014 will have replaced it. Europe's largest economy, Germany, will make the biggest contribution to the fund, about 27% of its total.
As the details of the fund were revealed, it will start functioning on Monday, John Redwood chose the Conservative Conference in Birmingham to announce that now was the time for Eurosceptics to “come together”. He also called for "moderate and sensible" language in the discussion on the nature of Britain's relationship with the EU but to little avail.
Also on the platform, Labour MP Gisela Stuart, said it was the responsibility of the government to discuss possibilities of leaving the EU, and that "the Eurozone crisis has not been resolved, it has been delayed.”
Ms Stuart claimed it was not just the British who felt a "deep frustration" with their ties with Europe but other members of the EU too.
Tim Congdon, UKIP said that it was both a political and economic disaster for Britain to be part of the EU. To shouts of support from some parts of the audience, Mr Congdon announced that he has always been opposed to the UK's membership of the EU, accused the UK civil service of having been “captured by Brussels,” and described the Lisbon Treaty as a “trap.”
Mr Redwood condemned Britain’s integration with Europe saying “the democratic fabric of our country has been greatly damaged by this process and added “The best thing we did was to stay out of the Euro.”
Speaking in Luxembourg where he was confirmed as the Chair of the ESM, Jean-Claude Juncker, said the European Stability Mechanism was not a stand-alone instrument, but part of a comprehensive plan. Having officially launched the ESM, European finance ministers will now turn their attention to Greece's bailout and to Spain as talks continue until Tuesday.
The Conservative Party Conference continues until Wednesday 10th October