A guest post from that rare beast, an openly pro-EU Tory – in this case Thomas Byrne of the blog Byrne Tofferings, who is keen to sound out the thoughts of a more international audience to his suggestion for the first High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, the successor to the High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy (currently Javier Solana):
Chris Patten has signalled his interest in the High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy position, something I’m going to give my support to.
If you want to look at important conflicts that Britain has been involved with since the EU’s foundation – Falklands, Kosovo, Gulf War, Iraq, Afghanistan, etc. the EU has actively or passively opposed every one, Chris Patten would be the perfect man for turning EU Foreign Policy into a force to be reckoned with.
Chris Patten was the first Governor who actually cared about trying to bring democracy to Hong Kong. Unlike most of his predecessor(s) who were ‘sinologists,’ which meant they just kowtowed to Peking, he actually stood up for Hong Kong.
Patten’s experience would be useful in the Balkans – Bosnia, Serbia, Croatia, Macedonia, Albania, Kosovo, Moldova – and Turkey, all of which are pushing for EU membership to a greater or lesser extent. Not to mention some of the Caucasian and Central Asian countries that are members of the Council of Europe, and could down the line become candidate countries – or the elephant in the European room that is Belarus, the last dictatorship on the continent.
In Chris Patten’s book (Not Quite The Diplomat) he suggests the Tories have saddled themselves with a Eurosceptic ideology for no good reason, something that I’d agree with, his Europhile sentiment and his experience within the commission make him the perfect man to slide into this role. Firstly ,because of his experience of EU institutions and dealings with each of the member states, but also when the Tories come into government they’ll be dealing with someone they can relate to, lending a plaster to the Eurosceptic position of some MEP’s like Daniel Hannan, and the grassroots and lead the Conservative party into a position within Europe that would silence those that claim the party are on the fringe.