The Guardian recently hosted a debate on ‘What kind of Europe do we want?’ between writer (and Guardian columnist) Timothy Garton-Ash and Daily Telegraph editor Charles Moore. The full transcript of the debate is available in pdf format, but there’s also a shorter summary that covers most of tha min points the two made. Given that most would label Garton-Ash a ‘europhile’ and Moore a ‘eurosceptic’, it’s interesting to see that there is quite a lot of common ground between their two viewpoints.
Guardian columnist Polly Toynbee also makes similar points to Garton-Ash, addressing the problem that many of us who are ‘pro-Europe’ face – that the ‘Europe’ of our ideals is not lived up to by the EU of reality:
The limping Britain in Europe campaign now needs to reform itself into a radical anti-government voice, not the pet of ministerial patronage. Time to lay into both Brown and Blair with full euro knuckledusters. Time to attack Brussels, too, and lead the charge for reform; it will never be credible to defend the inadequate status quo.
The European idea is magnificent, but pretending that current reality matches the rhetoric only heightens scepticism.
The combination of EU expansion, the constitutional proposals and the advent of the Euro have brought us to a ‘where do we go from here?’ moment. 50 years on from Schuman and Monnet, there is now a concept of ‘Europe’ as an entity that there wasn’t back then. However, the question of what that that entity will be in practice has still not been decided (and probably never will entirely be) but the onus is now on all sides of the debate to actually think about where we’re going and how to get there.