Tony Blair is not the most loved politician in Europe: too pro-American, too liberal, too British and so on. But what many European politicians seem to have missed is that Blair is the most pro-European British prime minister since Edward Heath in the 1970s: things aren’t going to get any better.
Gordon Brown, Blair’s presumed successor, has a reputation around Europe for being uninterested in the EU and dismissive in his dealings with fellow ministers. But what would happen if Brown lost the next British election – probably in 2008 or 2009 – to the Conservatives?
A glimpse of Britain’s European future came on Wednesday in a wide-ranging speech by William Hague, the Conservative foreign policy spokesman. If you thought Tory thinking had moved on much since the days of Margaret Thatcher, this might make you think again.