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Encyclopedia > Bruges Group
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The Bruges Group is a euro-sceptic think tank which is often associated with the British Conservative Party (although this has been disputed). It claims to be an all-party group but its Honorary President is the Baroness Thatcher, its co-chairs are Brian Hindley and Norman Lamont, and its Director is Robert Oulds. It has no non-Conservative politicians on its board. It is considered to be the common ancestor of many UK euro-sceptic parties and groups that emerged in the 1990s. Image File history File links Unbalanced_scales. ... Euroscepticism is scepticism about, or disagreement with, the purposes of the European Union, sometimes coupled with a desire to preserve national sovereignty. ... This article is about the institution. ... The Conservative Party (officially the Conservative & Unionist Party) is currently the second largest political party in the United Kingdom in terms of sitting Members of Parliament (MPs), and the largest in terms of public membership. ... Margaret Hilda Thatcher, Baroness Thatcher, LG, OM, PC, FRS (born 13 October 1925) was Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1979 to 1990. ... Norman Stewart Hughson Lamont, Baron Lamont of Lerwick, PC (born 8 May 1942) was Conservative Member of Parliament for Kingston-upon-Thames, England from 1972 until 1997. ... Robert Oulds is a British Conservative politician and is Director of the Bruges Group. ...


Originally set up by Oxford University student Patrick Robertson following Margaret Thatcher's Bruges speech in September 1988, the group quickly became a focus for mounting euro-scepticism, stoked by the speeches of then EU Commission president Jacques Delors. The University of Oxford, located in the city of Oxford in England, is the oldest university in the English-speaking world. ... 1988 is a leap year starting on a Friday of the Gregorian calendar. ... Euroscepticism is scepticism about, or disagreement with, the purposes of the European Union, sometimes coupled with a desire to preserve national sovereignty. ... The European Commission (formally the Commission of the European Communities) is the executive of the European Union. ... Handshake between Slovenian Prime Minister Janez Drnovšek, on the right, and Jacques Delors Jacques Lucien Jean Delors (born July 20, 1925, in Paris, France) is a French economist and politician, who served three terms as President of the European Commission from 1985-1995. ...


The group was considered highly influential during the period 1988 - 1993 and a rallying point for rebellious backbench Conservative MPs during House of Commons debates over the Maastricht Treaty. At the height of its influence, Robertson briefly attempted to break the group out of its Westminster base. An Oxford branch was set up (under Roland Smith) with important links to Oxford University's rapidly growing euro-sceptic movement led by student Daniel Hannan - later a newspaper columnist and Conservative MEP. The group then went through a difficult period. Dr Alan Sked, a leading academic associated with the group, fell out with other leading members during 1991-1992. Sked went on to form the withdrawalist party the Anti-Federalist League which later evolved into the UK Independence Party. 1988 (MCMLXXXVIII) was a leap year starting on Friday of the Gregorian calendar. ... 1993 (MCMXCIII) was a common year starting on Friday of the Gregorian calendar and marked the Beginning of the International Decade to Combat Racism and Racial Discrimination (1993-2003). ... A backbencher is a Member of Parliament or a legislature who does not hold governmental office and is not a Front Bench spokesperson in the Opposition. ... The House of Commons is the lower house of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. ... The Maastricht Treaty (formally, the Treaty on European Union) was signed on 7 February 1992 in Maastricht between the members of the European Community and entered into force on 1 November 1993, under the Delors Commission. ... Westminster is a district within the City of Westminster in London. ... The University of Oxford, located in the city of Oxford in England, is the oldest university in the English-speaking world. ... Daniel Hannan (born 1971) is a British politician, and Member of the European Parliament for the South East England region for the Conservative Party. ... Dr Alan Sked is a lecturer in European Studies at the London School of Economics. ... 1991 (MCMXCI) was a common year starting on Tuesday of the Gregorian calendar. ... 1992 (MCMXCII) was a leap year starting on Wednesday. ... For the 18th century American faction, see Anti-Federalist Party The Anti-Federalist League was a small cross-party organisation in Britain, formed in 1991 to campaign against the Maastricht Treaty. ... The United Kingdom Independence Party (commonly known as UKIP, pronounced you-kip) is a right-wing political party that aims at British withdrawal from the European Union. ...


Robertson left the group a short time later and, after some work with the World Economic Forum, emerged as an adviser to James Goldsmith's Referendum Party (later the Democracy Movement). The World Economic Forum (WEF) is a Geneva-based foundation whose annual meeting of top business leaders, national political leaders (presidents, prime ministers and others), and selected intellectuals and journalists is usually held in Davos, Switzerland. ... James Goldsmith as he appeared in his Referendum Party’s mass-mailed video tape, March 1997. ... The Referendum Party were a single-issue party in the United Kingdom formed to contest the 1997 General Election. ... The Democracy Movement is a crossparty Eurosceptic pressure group in the UK with around 150 local branches. ...


The group continued however and has been reinvigorated in recent years under the directorship of Oulds. It continues to publish and is active on the World Wide Web. Some of its leading lights are active in the blogosphere (e.g. Dr Helen Szamuely and Dr Richard North at the EU Referendum blog). The Web and WWW redirect here. ... Blogosphere is the collective term encompassing all blogs as a community or social network. ...


Some critics suggest the group's moment in history has passed and that British and particularly Conservative euro-scepticism has steadily become mainstream since 1988.[citation needed] Others within the group counter that much of mainstream euro-scepticism has insufficient substance, remains too concerned about working within the EU and tends to focus too easily on particular symptoms of Europeanism such as the Euro or the EU constitution.[citation needed] This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article may require cleanup. ... The Treaty establishing a constitution for Europe is a proposed constitutional treaty for the European Union. ...


External links

  • Bruges Group web site
  • EU Referendum blog
  • Analysis of the Bruges Group's history and its place in UK euro-scepticism

  Results from FactBites:
 
Margaret Thatcher - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (7416 words)
At Bruges, Belgium in 1988, Thatcher made a speech in which she outlined her opposition to proposals from the European Community for a federal structure and increasing centralisation of decision-making.
From 1993 to 2000, she served as Chancellor of the College of William and Mary, which was established by Royal Charter in 1693.
She remains active in various Thatcherite groups, including the Conservative Way Forward group, the Bruges Group and the European Foundation.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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