Tomorrow sees politicians from across Europe gather for a meeting of Liberal leaders, hosted by Nick Clegg under the auspices of the European Liberal Democrats (ELDR). Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, EU Economic and Monetary Affairs Commissioner Olli Rehn and German Economy Minister Philipp Roesler are among the senior liberal figures joining him at the mini-summit in London.
Having promised to ‘re-engage with Europe’, Nick sees this meeting as part of that process, using the umbrella organisation of European liberalism to gather potential allies and influence the European Commission more positively than David Cameron did at last month’s Brussels summit.
Interestingly, Douglas Carswell MP has felt the need to comment on the event, suggesting that the gathering will have little value and asking;
“There will be a lot of mushy goodwill and talk of re-engagement, but does that mean that our government will be able to safeguard our national interest?”
Which does rather lead one to ask the question, if this is a liberal event, rather than an official government one, what is he on about? But, for his benefit, Liberal Democrats tend to feel that working with people to make Europe better for business and for people is better than opting out.
Nevertheless, at the meeting liberal ministers and EU commissioners will discuss the euro zone crisis, measures to boost growth in the bloc’s fragile economy and the future of the EU’s multi-billion euro budget, the initial ELDR discussions of which were covered by Liberal Democrat Voice in December.