Abstract

Tony Blair's decision to provide an indication of his departure date from 10 Downing Street has generated interest in the policies and style of his most likely successor, the current UK Chancellor of the Exchequer, Gordon Brown. Brown's ambitions for European policy are considered by a number of commentators to be less clear. This is because so far he has not produced a comprehensive vision of how he sees the UK's future relationship with the EU. However, as this article demonstrates, close examination reveals that his position on many aspects of European policy is actually already well documented.

Footnotes

1
This article is written on the premise that Tony Blair's resignation as leader of the Labour Party will take place before the parliamentary summer recess in 2007, and that in the subsequent leadership election Gordon Brown will be elected leader of the Labour party and accede to the position of prime minister.
2
David Mepham, ‘Gordon's world’, Prospect, July 2006; Fraser Nelson, ‘The eight who know Britain's future’, Spectator, 23 Sept. 2006; James Blitz, ‘Centre stage: how Brown is preparing to shake up the way the country is run’, Financial Times, 3 Jan. 2007.
3
For a comprehensive assessment of Blair's presidentialism and its impact on the UK system of governance, see Mark Bevir R. A. W. Rhodes, ‘Prime ministers, presidentialism and Westminster smokescreens’, Political Studies 54: 4, Dec. 2006, pp. 671–90.
4
Ed Balls has been Labour MP for Normanton since 2005 and economic secretary to HM Treasury since May 2006.
5
William Keegan, The prudence of Mr Gordon Brown (Chichester: Wiley, 2004), p. 15.
6
Robert Peston, Brown's Britain (London: Short Books, 2005), pp. 19, 179.
7
Edward Miliband has been Labour MP for Doncaster North since 2005 and parliamentary secretary at the Cabinet Office since Oct. 2006. He worked as an adviser to Gordon Brown from 1994 (with a sabbatical at Harvard University in 2003/4) until his election to Parliament.
8
William E. Paterson and Penny Henson, ‘The Labour party's European policy: from patriotic party to a party of Europe?’, in William E. Paterson, Penny Henson and Peter Shipley, The European policies of Labour and Conservative party in Great Britain, Konrad Adenauer Stiftung internal study no. 109/1995 (Sankt Augustin: Konrad Adenauer Stiftung, 1995), p. 33.
9
Blitz, ‘Centre stage’.
10
Peston, Brown's Britain, p. 16.
11
For the notion of the UK as awkward partner, see Stephen George, An awkward partner: Britain in the European Community, 3rd edn (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1998). For a masterly account that provides an elegant and illuminating account of the UK relationship to European integration, see Hugo Young, This blessed plot: Britain and Europe from Churchill to Blair (Basingstoke: Macmillan, 1998).
12
Young, This blessed plot, ch. 9.
13
Young, This blessed plot, ch. 11.
14
Blitz, ‘Centre stage’; Manneken Pis, ‘Why the French are dreading the prospect of Gordon Brown as PM’, Brussels diary, Prospect, Oct. 2006; Chatham House workshop, ‘Perspectives on a future prime minister: what European policy under Gordon Brown?’, London, 20 Oct.6.
15
Statement by Brown to the European Parliament's Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs, 12 July 2005, http://www.hm-reasury.gov.uk/newsroom_and_speeches/press/2005/press_62_05.cfm, accessed 15 Jan. 2007; speech by Brown, ‘Global Britain, global Europe: a presidency founded on pro-European realism’, Mansion House, London, 22 June 2005, http://www.hm-treasury.gov.uk/newsroom_and_speeches/press/2005/press_57_05.cfm, accessed 15 Jan. 2007; Brown, ‘Global Europe: full-employment Europe’, HM Treasury, Oct. 2005, http://www.hm-treasury.gov.uk/media/093/BF/global_europe_131005.pdf, accessed 15 Jan. 2007, p. 1.
16
Brown, ‘Global Britain, global Europe’.
17
See in particular Brown, ‘Global Europe: full-employment Europe’.
18
See e.g. speech by Brown, ‘We will always strive to be on your side’, Labour party conference, 25 Sept. 2006, http://www.labour.org.uk/index.php?id=news2005&ux_news%5Bid%5D=onyourside&cHash=dde805, accessed 15 Jan. 2007; speech by Brown, ‘Politics as a moral duty’, Labour party conference, 26 Sept. 2005, http://www.labour.org.uk/index.php?id=news2005&ux_news[id]=ac05gb&cHash=30c74d8de6, accessed 15 Jan. 2007; Brown, statement to the European Parliament; Brown, ‘Global Britain, global Europe’; Brown, ‘Global Europe: full-employment Europe’.
19
See e.g. speech by Brown at delivery of Labour's tenth pre-budget report, ‘Investing in Britain's potential: building our long-term future’, 6 Dec. 2006, http://www.labour.org.uk/index.php?id=news2005&ux_news[id]=gbprbsp&no_cache=1, accessed 15 Jan. 2007; Brown, ‘We will always strive’; Brown, ‘Politics as a moral duty’; Brown, statement to the European Parliament, 2005; Brown, ‘Global Britain, global Europe’; Brown, ‘Global Europe: full-employment Europe’.
20
See e.g. interview with Gordon Brown by Andrew Marr, Sunday AM programme, BBC1, 7 Jan. 2007, full transcript. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/6241819.stm, accessed 15 Jan. 2007; Brown, ‘We will always strive’; Brown, ‘Politics as a moral duty’, Brown, tenth pre-budget report; Brown, statement to the European Parliament; Brown, ‘Global Britain, global Europe’; Brown, ‘Global Europe: full-employment Europe’.
21
Brown, statement to the European Parliament; Brown, ‘Global Britain, global Europe’; Brown, ‘Global Europe: full-employment Europe’.
22
Brown, ‘Global Europe: full-employment Europe’, p. 12.
23
Illustrated by the commissioning of the Leitch Review of Skills, Dec. 2006.
24
Brown, statement to the European Parliament; Brown, ‘Global Britain, global Europe’; Brown, ‘Global Europe: full-employment Europe’, pp. 12–15.
25
Brown, statement to the European Parliament; Brown, ‘Global Britain, global Europe’; Brown, ‘Global Europe: full-employment Europe’, p. 13.
26
Brown, ‘Global Britain, global Europe’,
27
Brown, statement to the European Parliament; Brown, ‘Global Britain, global Europe’; Brown, ‘Global Europe: full-employment Europe’, p. 13.
28
Ibid.
29
Brown, ‘Global Britain, global Europe’; Brown, ‘Global Europe: full-employment Europe’, p. 13.
30
Brown, ‘Global Europe: full-employment Europe’, p. 13.
31
Europa press release, ‘Taxation: Commission welcomes adoption of package to curb harmful tax competition’, 3 June 2003,. http://europa.eu/rapid/pressReleasesAction.do?reference=IP/03/787&format=HTML&aged=1&language=en&guiLanguage=en, accessed 15 Jan. 2007.
32
Brown, statement to the European Parliament; Brown, ‘Global Britain, global Europe’; Brown, ‘Global Europe: full-employment Europe’, p. 13.
33
Brown, ‘Global Europe: full-employment Europe’, p. 13.
34
Brown, ‘Global Britain, global Europe’; Brown, ‘Global Europe: full-employment Europe’, p. 14.
35
Brown, statement to the European Parliament; Brown, ‘Global Europe: full-employment Europe’, p. 13.
36
Christopher Adams, ‘Clues to Brown's agenda emerge’, Financial Times, 16 Nov. 2006.
37
Brown, ‘Global Europe: full-employment Europe’, p. 13.
39
Keegan, The prudence of Mr Gordon Brown, p. 11.
40
Brown, ‘We will always strive’.
41
James Blitz, ‘Brown's breakfast with business’, Financial Times, 18 Nov. 2006.
42
Brown, statement to the European Parliament; Brown, ‘Global Britain, global Europe’.
43
Brown, statement the European Parliament; Brown, ‘Global Britain, global Europe’; Brown, ‘Global Europe: full-employment Europe’.
44
Brown, ‘Global Britain, global Europe’.
45
‘Global Europe: full-employment Europe’, p. 12.
46
‘Global Europe: full-employment Europe’, p. 11.
47
Brown, speech at the CBI annual dinner, 18 May 2005, http://www.hm-treasury.gov.uk/newsroom_and_speeches/press/2005/press_48_05.cfm, accessed 15 Jan. 2007; Brown, speech to the CBI, 2006.
48
Conclusions, European Council, March 2005, p. 10.
49
‘Global Europe: full-employment Europe’, p. 12.
50
‘Global Europe: full-employment Europe’, p. 12.
51
Brown, ‘Global Britain, global Europe’.
52
Ed Balls, ‘Britain's next decade’, speech to Fabian Society, 1 Nov. 2006, http://www.fabian-society.org.uk/documents/document_latest.asp?id=149&catid=52, accessed 15 Jan. 2007.
53
Brown, statement to the European Parliament; Brown, ‘Global Britain, global Europe’; Brown, ‘Global Europe: full-employment Europe’, p. 15.
54
Brown, ‘Global Britain, global Europe’.
55
Brown, ‘Global Britain, global Europe’.
56
Brown, ‘Global Britain, global Europe’.
57
Brown, ‘Global Britain, global Europe’.
58
Brown, ‘Global Britain, global Europe’.
59
Brown, statement to the European Parliament; Brown, ‘Global Britain, global Europe’; Brown, 'Global
60
Europe: full-employment Europe', p. 15.
61
Brown, ‘Global Britain, global Europe’; Brown, ‘Global Europe: full-employment Europe’, p. 15.
62
Brown, statement to the European Parliament; Brown, ‘Global Britain, global Europe’; Brown, ‘Global Europe: full-employment Europe’, p. 11.
63
The Stability and Growth Pact (SGP) was introduced in 1997 as an attempt to ensure budgetary discipline in the project of economic and monetary union. The core commitment of the SGP is to ensure that all member states maintain government deficits below 3 per cent of GDP. See ‘The Stability and Growth Pact’, website of the European Commission, http://ec.europa.eu/economy_finance/about/activities/sgp/sgp_en.htm, accessed 15 Jan. 2007. See Brown, statement to the European Parliament; Brown, ‘Global Europe: full-employment Europe’, 1.
64
Brown, ‘Global Europe: full-employment Europe’, p. 14.
65
Speech by Brown, ‘Global Britain, global Europe’, 2005, Brown, ‘Global Europe: full-employment Europe’, 2005, p. 14.
66
Brown, ‘Politics as a moral duty’; Brown, ‘Global Britain, global Europe’; Brown, ‘Global Europe: full-employment Europe’, p. 3; HMT/DEFRA, ‘A vision for the Common Agricultural Policy’, Dec. 2005, HM Treasury and Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, http://www.defra.gov.uk/farm/capre-form/pdf/vision-for-cap.pdf, accessed 15 Jan. 2007.
67
Brown, ‘Global Britain, global Europe’; HMT/DEFRA, ‘A vision for the Common Agricultural Policy’. 67 Brown, ‘Global Britain, global Europe’; Brown, ‘Global Europe: full-employment Europe’, p. 15.
68
Brown, ‘Global Britain, global Europe’; Brown, ‘Global Europe: full-employment Europe’, p. 14.
69
Ed Balls highlighted in a recent speech that for the 2007 annual budget more than 60% of structural and cohesion fund expenditure will still be directed to rich member states. Balls, speech to the annual conference of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of England and Wales, Chartered Accountants' Hall, London,. http://www.hm-treasury.gov.uk/newsroom_and_speeches/press/2006/press_93_06.cfm, accessed 15Jan. 2007.
70
Brown, ‘Global Britain, global Europe’.
71
Brown, ‘Global Britain, global Europe’; Brown, ‘Global Europe: full-employment Europe’, p. 14.
72
Statement by Commission President José Manuel Barroso on the financial perspectives for 2007–2013, Brussels, 17 Dec. 2005,. http://ec.europa.eu/commission_barroso/president/pdf/statement_20051217_en.pdf, accessed 15 Jan. 2007.
73
The 2002 European Council agreed that the CAP would remain in its current form until 2013: Presidency conclusions, European Council 24–25 Oct. 2002, Brussels, p. 5, http://www.consilium.europa.eu/ueDocs/cms_Data/docs/pressData/en/ec/72968.pdf, accessed 15Jan. 2007.
74
Balls, speech to the annual conference of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of England and Wales.
75
The Federal Government's Work Programme, ‘Europe—Succeeding Together’: Presidency Programme 1 Jan. to 30 June 2007, http://www.eu2007.de/en/The_Council_Presidency/Priorities_Programmes/index.html, accessed 21 Jan. 2007.
76
‘Candidate's vision could threaten rescue of EU constitution’, Financial Times, 19 Jan. 2007, p.
77
Notably Brown, ‘Global Britain, global Europe’.
78
Brown, ‘Global Britain, global Europe’.
79
Peston, Brown's Britain, p. 9.
80
For coverage of the Europe policy pursued under the Thatcher and Major administrations, see Brendan Evans, Thatcherism and British politics, 1975–99 (Stroud: Sutton, 1999); Peter Dorey, ed., The Major premiership: politics and policies under John Major, 1990-97 (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 1999).
81
Balls, speech to the Annual Conference of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of England and Wales.
82
Press release, ‘Follow-up to Hampton Court Summit–CFSP and ESDP’, UK presidency of the EU, 4 Nov. 2005, http://www.eu2005.gov.uk/servlet/Front?pagename=OpenMarket/Xcelerate/ShowPage&c=Page&cid=1112704221230&a=aid=1132598198508&date=2005-11-04, accessed 15 Jan. 2007.
83
Presidency conclusions, Lisbon European Council, 23–24 March 2000, http://www.consilium.europa.eu/ueDocs/cms_Data/docs/pressData/en/ec/00100-r1.en0.htm, accessed 15 April 2007.
84
European Council conclusions, March 2005, p. 7.
85
European Council conclusions, March 2005, pp. 7–8.
86
Brown, ‘We will always strive’. The 2006 Queen's Speech has been seen as indicative of the policies Brown will continue as PM. See Adams, ‘Clues to Brown's agenda emerge’; Queen's Speech, http://www.number10.gov.uk/output/Page10419.asp, accessed 15 Jan. 2007; interview with Brown by Andrew Marr, Sunday AM programme, 7 Jan. 2007; Lionel Barber and James Blitz, ‘Security is our top priority, says Brown’, interview, Financial Times, 25 Oct. 2006.
87
Deborah Summers, ‘Brown: Britain must lead way towards low-carbon world’, Guardian, 30 Oct. 2006.
88
Speech by Brown to UN ambassadors, New York, 20 April 2006, http://www.hm-treasury.gov.uk/news-room_and_speeches/press/2006/press_31_06.cfm, accessed 15Jan. 2007.
89
Balls, ‘Britain's next decade’.
90
Queen's Speech, 2006.
91
Brown, speech to UN ambassadors.
92
Speech by Brown to United Nations, 2006.
93
Summers, ‘Brown: Britain must lead way towards low-carbon world’.
94
Summers, ‘Brown: Britain must lead way towards low-carbon world’; Brown speech to UN ambassadors.
95
Balls, ‘Britain's next decade’.
96
Balls, ‘Britain's next decade’.
97
Patrick Win tour, ‘Give EU more power to tackle climate change, says Balls’, Guardian, 1 Nov. 2006.
98
Summers, ‘Brown: Britain must lead way towards low-carbon world’.
99
Christopher Adams, ‘Brown to raise duty on 4×4s and air travel’, Financial Times, 24 Nov. 2006.
100
The Göteborg European Council set out a programme for combating climate change as early as 2001. See presidency conclusions, Göteborg European Council, 15–16 June 2001.
101
Balls, ‘Britain's next decade’.
102
Nick Mathiason, ‘Barroso to tackle climate change’, Observer, 26 Nov. 2006.
103
European Commission, Green Paper: a European strategy for sustainable, competitive and secure energy, Brussels, 8 March 2006, p. 10,. http://ec.europa.eu/energy/green-paper-energy/doc/2006_03_08_gp_document_en.pdf, accessed 15Jan. 2007.
104
‘EU energy proposals’, BBC news website, 2007.
105
‘Beyond words’, Guardian leader, 9 Dec. 2006; Philip Stephens, ‘A serious contest still lies ahead’, Financial Times, 6 Dec. 2006; Will Woodward and Larry Elliott, ‘From Britishness to Blair: the Brown vision’, Guardian, 26 Sept. 2006; James Blitz, ‘Brown changes tune on Europe’, Financial Times, 15 June 2006.
106
Stephens, ‘A serious contest still lies ahead’.
107
Chatham House workshop, ‘Perspectives on a future prime minister’.
108
Balls, ‘Britain's next decade’.
109
‘A strategy on the external dimension of the area of freedom, security and justice’, Council of the European Union, Brussels, 17 Oct. 2005, p. 3.
110
Brown, ‘We will always strive’; Queen's Speech, 2006; Adams, ‘Clues to Brown's agenda emerge’; interview with Gordon Brown by Andrew Marr, Sunday AM programme, 7 Jan. 2007; Barber and Blitz, ‘Security is our top priority, says Brown’.
111
Speech by Gordon Brown, ‘Meeting the terrorist challenge’, Chatham House, London, 10 Oct. 2006, http://www.hm-treasury.gov.uk/newsroom_and_speeches/press/2006/press_72_06.cfm, accessed 15 Jan. 2007.
112
Julie Smith, ‘A missed opportunity? New Labour's European policy 1997–2005’, International Affairs 81: 4, July 2005, pp. 703–21.
113
Peston, Brown's Britain, p. 181.
114
Peston, Brown's Britain, p. 182.
115
Brown, ‘Politics is a moral duty’.
116
The issue of the euro is surprisingly not even mentioned in Brown's speech and pamphlet ‘Global Europe: full-employment Europe’.
117
William Keegan, ‘Au revoir to Monsieur Euro’, Observer, 3 Dec. 2006.
118
Brian Brady, ‘Brown buries euro to capture sceptic voters’, Scotland on Sunday, 19 Nov. 2006.
119
The five tests are based on rating compatibility of business cycles and economic structures, flexibility, conditions for long-term investment decisions, and the impact on financial services, growth, stability and employment. They were introduced as a way to test if the UK economy was ready to adopt the euro.
120
‘UK membership of the single currency: an assessment of the five economic tests’, Cm 5776, HM Treasury, 9 June 2003, http://www.hm-treasury.gov.uk/documents/international_issues/the_euro/assessment/report/euro_assess03_repindex.cfm, accessed 15Jan. 2007.
121
Peston, Brown's Britain, p. 183.
122
Keegan, The prudence of Mr Gordon Brown, p. 16.
123
B. Crowe, ‘A common European foreign policy after Iraq?’, International Affairs 79: 3, May 2003, pp. 533–46.
124
Philip Stephens, ‘A new transatlantic role for Britain’, Financial Times, 19 Sept. 2006.
125
For an illustration see speech by Brown at the Confederation of Indian Industry, Bangalore, 17 Jan. 2007, http://www.hm-treasury.gov.uk/newsroom_and_speeches/press/2007/press_06_07.cfm, accessed 15 Jan. 2007.
126
Brown, speech to UN ambassadors.
127
Brown, ‘We will always strive’.
128
Brown, ‘Politics is a moral duty’; Summers, ‘Brown: Britain must lead way towards low-carbon world’, 2006.
129
‘Brown, meeting the terrorist challenge’: Mark Leonard, ‘How Gordon sees the world’, The Spectator, 26 Aug. 2006.
130
Ed Balls and Jon Cunliffe, ‘Economic aspects of peace in the Middle East: HM Treasury interim progress report’, 20 Jan. 2006, http://www.hm-treasury.gov.uk./media/E7D/DC/economicaspectsofpeace_middlee-ast200106_.pdf, accessed 15Jan. 2007.
131
Interview with Brown by Andrew Marr, Sunday AM programme, 7 Jan. 2007. Transcript available at http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/ukpolitics/6241819.stm.
132
Brown, statement to the European Parliament; Brown, ‘Global Britain, global Europe’; Brown, ‘Global Europe: full-employment Europe’, p. 2.
133
Julie Smith and Mariana Tsatsas, The new bilateralism: the UK's bilateral relations within the EU(London: RIIA, 2002).
134
Smith, ‘A missed opportunity?’, p. 709.

Author notes

The authors would like to thank Sir Brian Crowe, Brendan Donnelly, Willie Paterson and Julie Smith for their perceptive comments on earlier drafts of this article. Errors, omissions and weaknesses remain the authors' own.