The Centre for European Reform

This is a rescued version from the ‘NeoCon Europe’ site which was destroyed by the people who run NeoCon as part of their victimisation of my work.  So the links may or may not work.

The Centre for European Reform (CER) brings together Atlanticist, New Labour, neo-liberal and neo-conservative elements in a well-funded and promoted EU military-industrial lobby. It aims to influence organisations such as the European Defence Agency and others and open up the defence market (backers include Shell, Lockheed Martin, BP and J.P. Morgan) but it should really be viewed as an adjunct to the New Labour particularly in connection to Peter Mandelson and David Miliband.

The Centre states that it:

… is a think-tank devoted to improving the quality of the debate on the European Union. It is a forum for people with ideas from Britain and across the continent to discuss the many political, economic and social challenges facing Europe. It seeks to work with similar bodies in other European countries, North America and elsewhere in the world […] The CER makes a point of bringing together people from the worlds of politics and business. Most of our meetings and seminars are by invitation only, to ensure a high level of debate.[1]

Its main areas of interest are European Union budget, policies, foreign policy; Reforming the EU’s institutions; Justice & home affairs; Economics & finance; Energy & environment; Education & research; The Euro; Security & defence policy; Enlargement (specifically on Turkey); ‘Neighbourhood policy’; Transatlantic relations; Russia; China; The Middle East and the ‘Arab Reform Initiative’.[2] the Arab Reform Initiative describes itself as a “a consortium of fifteen key policy research centers from the Arab world with partners from Europe and the United States, working to mobilize the Arab research capacity to advance knowledge and promote a home grown program for democratic reform.” The US ‘partner’ here is The U.S./Middle East Project under the guidance of an International Board chaired by General (Ret.) Brent Scowcroft, that includes Carla A. Hills, Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board, the President’s Homeland Security Advisory Council, Lee H. Hamilton of the FBI and CIA’s Advisory Panel, Efraim Halevy the former head of head of the Mossad (1998-2002), Sam Nunn chairman of the board of the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington; Brent Scowcroft who coined the term the “New World Order” and is Vice Chairman of Kissinger Associates, Inc., and Chairman of the President’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board under President George W. Bush (2001-2005)and also a board member of The Center for Strategic and International Studies and The Atlantic Council of the United States. The Arab Reform Initiativeis run by Bassma Kodmani the program officer of the Ford Foundation in Cairo and an advisor to the Oxford Research Group. [3]

The CER are also partners in the New Atlantic Initiative(NAI) which involves several neo-conservative organisations such as the Project for the New American Century and is a spin-off from the Institute for European Defence and Strategic Studies funded by the American Enterprise Institute.[4]

The CER’s Charles Grant launched his ‘Healing the Transatlantic Rift’ as a New Atlantic Initiative event at the AEI Wohlstetter Conference Center (named after the arch neoconservative Albert Wohlstetter) in September 12, 2003, introduced by Radek Sikorski.[5]A significant CER presence can be seen at the International Conference ‘Relaunching the Transatlantic Partnership’ organised by the Aspen Institute Italia and the New Atlantic Initiative , with a decidedly neoconservative orientation and sponsored by the NATO Public Diplomacy Division and the American Embassy in Rome.[6]

According to the CER’s 2007 Report it was founded at the annual British-German Koenigswinter conference in 1996 by David Miliband and Nick Butler then a senior figure in BP and a key figure in setting up the British American Project, which is overseen by Paul Wolfowitz and the CER’s Lord George Robertson.[7] The main administrators of the Centre has been Charles Grant and Mark Leonard and the Centre’s advisory board overlaps with those of think tanks such as Demos and the Foreign Policy Centre. It has acted as a venue for the promotion of US neoliberalism and neoconservatism, specifically in the run up to the invasion of Iraq. Although it has a European focus it follows in a long line of elite transatlantic security and defence networks which form a component of the complex mediation of US policy positions in relation to Europe, NATO and other European institutions.[8]

In 1995, as the CER was being assembled, it was rumored that Lord Gilmore, head of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office would run it while working for Tony Blair.[9]The Independent[10]described the CER as “Mr Blair’s private think-tank on Europe” and noted that:

Playing key roles in the centre’s establishment are Jonathan Powell and David Miliband, Mr Blair’s head of research. Peter Mandelson MP, Labour’s principal spin doctor, has also been among those who have helped the new body to birth.

Gilmore, who had joined the Prudential Assurance, Vickers, and a was senior adviser to BZW, was quoted as saying the centre would involve young people, not “the hoary old usuals […] We’re going to engage in serious discussion, not the exchanges of ya-boo which too often take place.” But Gilmore seems to have backed out because the CER was attached to a political party, but appeared in the run up to its launch a year later.[11]Just as several trustees of the CER joined the Blair court in its early days (Lord Simon for example) so too did some of the CER administrators such as the CER’s Treasurer, Julian Eccles, who became a Special Adviser having previously been a public affairs consultant with the international public relations consultancy Hill and Knowlton ‘specialising in broadcasting, lottery and IT issues’.[12]Eccles was previously Director of Communications and Corporate Affairs at BSkyB.[13]

People

By 2000 the CER’s board included a range of individuals who feature widely on a number of elite think tanks and gatherings and whose common denomination is a connection to the US, large multi-nationals and with some achieving high places in their respective governments or institutions which intervene and condition government policy.[14] One of the CER’s main difficulties was representing the interests of the George W. Bush administration and the neoconservative tendency to Europe and the UK. This list follows the Report’s description of the board’s occupations and positions, for a fuller version see the individual profiles.

  • Percy Barnevik: former Chairman AstraZeneca and numerous US companies including General Motors and du Pont.
  • Carl Bildt: Former Swedish Prime Minister, the first non-US member ever of the Board of Trustees of RAND, known for his implementation of far reaching ‘liberalization and structural reforms’ in Sweden and the ‘modernization’ its welfare system.
  • Nick Butler (Chair): Group Vice President For Policy Development, BP from 2002 to 2006 and a founder of the British American Project,[15]as well as being well connected in New Labour circles.[16]
  • Lord Dahrendorf: Former Warden Of St Antony’s College, Oxford, a trustee of the Ford Foundation, a policy advisor of The Social Market Foundation which shares its Tufton Street address with the CER. He is on the board of governors of the Anglo American elite think tank the Ditchley Foundation[17].
  • Vernon Ellis: International Chairman of US accountancy/consultancy giant Accenture with responsibility for the firm’s public relations, community involvement, volunteer and Foundation activities.
  • John Gray: Professor of European Thought, LSE[18], a visiting professor at Harvard University (1985-86), Gray is part of the European Institute at the LSE with the CER’s Maurice Fraser which also includes Roger Liddle of Peter Mandelson’s think tank Policy Network.[19] In the Independent Gray wrote of Neo-Conservatism at the heart of New Labour:
Neo-conservatism is not the most recent variety of conservatism. It is a new type of politics that can emerge at any point on the political spectrum. In Britain, neo-conservatism’s political vehicle was not the Conservative Party but the new party that Blair created when he seized the Labour leadership. […] His career in politics is testimony to the power of neo-conservative ideas, which guided his most fateful decisions. Blair was a neo-liberal by default, but a neo-conservative by conviction. Neo-conservatism diverges from neo-liberalism at crucial points, and it is specifically neo-conservative beliefs that shaped Blair’s view of the world. Unlike neo-liberals, neo-conservatives do not aim to return to an imaginary era of minimum government. They perceive that the social effects of free markets are not all benign and look to government to promote the virtues the free market neglects.[20]
  • Lord Hannay: Former UK Ambassador to the UN And The EU, Hannay was a minister at the British Embassy in Washington, DC in 1984-1985 and a and a member of the 2004 UN Secretary General’s High Level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change that called for an expanded Security Council.[21]
  • Ian Hargreaves: Was a Director Of Corporate And Public Affairs, BAA Plc, Editor of the New Statesmen and the Independent, Deputy Editor of the Financial Times and Director of BBC News and Current Affairs, but moved on to run the UK government’s Public Diplomacy (propaganda).[22]
  • Lord Haskins Of Skidby: Former Chairman, Northern Foods
  • François Heisbourg: Director, Fondation Pour La Recherche Stratégique.
  • Catherine Kelleher: Visiting Research Professor, US Naval War College.
  • Fiorella Kostoris Padoa Schioppa: President, Istituto Di Studi E Analisi Economica.
  • Richard Lambert: Former Editor, Financial Times.
  • Dominique Moisi: Deputy Director, Institut Francis Des Relations Internationales.
  • John Monks: General Secretary, Trades Union Congress.
  • Wanda Rapaczynski: President of Management Board, Agora SA.
  • Lord Simon Of Highbury: Former Minister For Trade And Competitiveness In Europe.
  • Baroness Smith Of Gilmorehill.
  • Peter Sutherland: Chairman, BP P.L.C.
  • Adair Turner: Vice Chairman, Merrill Lynch Holdings.

Other directors include:

  • Lord George Robertson (NATO, BAP)
  • Dame Pauline Neville-Jones (Chair Qinetiq plc, which runs the British Government’s secret military laboratories and was set up by the MOD to work with the Carlyle Group to run DERA, the British Government’s “Defence Evaluation and Research Agency”. The CIA did much the same thing with In-Q-Tel, Inc.[23]Career member of the British Diplomatic Service, Foreign affairs adviser to John Major, from 91- 94 chair of the Joint Intelligence Committee which overseen information from MI5, MI6, DIS, GCHQ , Political Director of the FCO, IISS with Blix above, and also a Harkness Fellow, Governor the Ditchley Foundation and the BBC). Documents such the 2005 ‘A Compact Between The United States And Europe’[24](signatories Dame Pauline Neville-Jones and others) proposed that:
“The United States and the European Union shall support the establishment of an independent Foundation for Democracy in the Middle East, and jointly contribute $100 million a year over the next 5 years to its activities.”

This seems to have emanated from the CER, of which Neville-Jones is an Advisory Board member, along with other elite decision-makers of Atlanticist tendencies with a penchant for adopting the fashionable US ‘soft power’ approach together with support for more conventional forms of power.

Analysis

Although it cannot be said that the CER is a Neoconservative organisation as such, to quote Charles Grant: “Every six months the CER and other think-tanks organise a roundtable that brings together European and American diplomats and thinkers”[25] and this included the 2003 ‘Future of the Transatlantic Relationship’ which included William Kristol.[26]A 2002 Washington meeting of the US-European Forum organised by the Brookings Institution and the Centre for European Reform (CER) included in its audience several ‘political directors’.

As one senior US official noted, in trying to explain the philosophy behind the apparent belligerence of US diplomacy to a group that included the political directors of the British, French, Germany and Italian Foreign Offices, the Bush Administration was determined from its first day to break with Bill Clinton’s weak, sentimentalised view of the world. “Clinton wanted the world to love America. He failed. Bush wants America to be respected and if necessary feared.”[27]

One other aspect of the CER’s function, suggested by the activities of several members is to manipulate British democracy through ‘public diplomacy’: the UK government’s PD is now run by the CER’s Ian Hargreaves; MI6 offshoot Hayklut had the CER’s Baroness Smith on its board; the British American Project for the Successor Generation (which itself was a component of US public diplomacy in the 1980s) was, along with the CER itself, set up by Nick Butler. In this context we could also mention the business funded think tanks involving Hargreaves, Dahrendorf and Haskins. Others involved in the Atlanticist project such as George Robertson also joined the CER. In the words of their (2002) Report the CER say they make a point of “bringing together people from the world of politics and business,” who that might be is indicated by their meetings and seminars which are described as “invitation-only events, to ensure a high level of debate.”

And the ends to which it seeks to propagandise strongly relate to the arms industry and political influence, particularly that of the interests of USA and where they entwine with European one — as noted the majority of the CER directors are either directors of a US company or were educated there, or have some other financial connection. The CER’s (2002) Report states it provided “private papers and briefings that business people, senior officials, ministers and commissioners ask us to provide,” but they make a point of saying that their “work is funded by donations from the private sector” and that “it has never received money from governments or EU institutions.” The latter assertion is questionable given the presence of the German Marshall Fund of the US[28], and extensive reports linking the organisation to New Labour. The reason this distinction was made was that it dates from a period when the processes of influencing elite decision-making by insider lobbying — which would seem to be the CER’s purpose — was to the fore with Greg Palast’s evidence: New Labour’s ‘Lobbygate.’

Many of the CER’s small group of people have later joined ‘governments or EU institutions.’ But questions as to why ‘senior officials, ministers and commissioners’ get something for nothing remain; and a more important question is why is the CER utterly dependent on the ‘donations’ of its funders which mostly have connections with the advisory board: Accenture,APCO, AstraZeneca, BAE Systems, BAT, BP, British Bankers’ Association, BT, Chubb Investment Services, Daily Mail and General Trust, Deutsche Bank, Diageo, EADS, EDS, The Economist, Express Dairies, German Marshall Fund of the US, GKN, GlaxoSmithKline, Goldman Sachs, KPMG, Lockheed Martin, Merck, Northern Foods, Pearson, Portland Place Capital, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Telecom Italia, Tesco, Thales, Unilever, United Utilities, UPS, Weber Shandwick Adamson and WPP Group. What do they get for their money?

The staff of the CER have done well with their proximity to power. Charles Grant, the director was appointed to the British Council and was a prospective Labour candidate; Heather Grabbe left to join the European Commission, working in the cabinet of enlargement commissioner Olli Rehn; Steven Everts went to the cabinet of Javier Solana, the EU’s foreign policy chief, in the Council of Ministers; Kitty Ussher[29], having worked as a special adviser in the Department of Trade and Industry, was selected as Labour Party candidate in a safe parliamentary seat and subsequently caught out in the expenses swindling; Alexandra Ashbourne has built a successful career as a defence consultant; Edward Bannerman worked in the Prime Minister’s Strategy Unit before moving to the Treasury; and Ben Hall is one of the Financial Times’ political reporters.

We could group the companies into various patterns:

  • UK and US Arms Companies and manufacturers would include AstraZeneca, BAE Systems and Lockheed Martin.
  • Two of the main Public Relations organizations, Weber Shandwick Adamson and the WPP Group appear so it is reasonable to assume that the CER engages with these PR companies and some of their clients — that means quite legitimate suspicion could be cast on Ambassador Lader (the chairman of the WPP Group) and his very public performance on Newsnight, Dame Pauline Neville-Jones (who used the incident to attack the BBC’s reports on the war) is in his debt since the company’s generosity enables her to see her advice carried out via the CER.
  • Three right-wing mainstream media companies (although Pearson publish many titles including the Financial Times) feel the need to support the CER’s endeavors: The Economist, Pearson, Daily Mail and General Trust.
  • We can also identify the three main consultants: PricewaterhouseCoopers, KPMG and Accenture.
  • Five representatives of finance capital dovetails with the security industry: Portland Place Capital, Goldman Sachs, Deutsche Bank, Chubb Investment Services, British Bankers’ Association and APCO — founded in 1984, APCO Associates Inc, the Washington based parent of APCO UK, has a long record of providing lobbying services. Its Washington office has a staff of over 100 including former politicians, US Ambassadors and Capitol Hill staff, including Richard V. Allen (formerly with the Institute for European Defence and Strategic Studies mentioned above), as senior counsellor. APCO noted of themselves:
“Given the expertise of APCO consultants in Middle East affairs and with the key U.S. government agencies involved in the contracting process, including the Agency for International Development (AID) and the Defense Department, APCO is well positioned to help identify contract opportunities, navigate the complex award process both in Washington and in Baghdad, and position clients with major contracting parties and the U.S. government’s key appointees in Baghdad.”[30]

One former CER Advisory Board member is Maurice Fraser who works directly for APCO and (literally) promotes the neo-liberal agenda, further details are offered in his individual profile. If we were to shift our focus to Neville-Jones, aside from her directorship in Qinetiq, we can identify that she has direct and ramified ties with war profiteering or “contract opportunities”, or “complex award process” whatever terminology you prefer. We cannot gain a complete knowledge of who is actually funding the CER from their Annual Report of 2002 only: “In addition to our corporate members, numerous other companies have supported specific publications and events,” and there are pictures of influence peddlers at various Fringe meetings such as the Labour Party Conference, Peter Mandelson was a frequent speaker and has also been part of the CER/New Atlantic Initiative’s New World Order Forum, which was also run in conjunction with the American Enterprise Institute.[31]The Report does indicate that half the money (over half a million) goes on staff, a quarter on administration and that they spend about the same on travel and ‘other’ as they do on ‘publishing’. Their statement on their achievements is feeble but included this indication of their purpose:

“…we have pointed the way to a healthier transatlantic relationship by urging the Americans to become more confident about using ‘soft power’, and the Europeans to develop some more of the hard sort.”[32]

Proximity & Agenda Setting

What the CER say they offer is “Proximity to the media” and this is also said to reinforced by the “activity of our advisory board”, so it is difficult for the advisory board to distance themselves from the work and who funds it given that it is argued the “distinguished members of our board —from business, politics, diplomacy and academia — devote time and energy to helping us with our strategy and work programme.”

Proximity is a key phrase in their self-recommendations including: “Proximity to governments and EU institutions” and “Proximity to the private sector.” So they claim to play the role of a proxy force to procure that which their clients desire. Why leaders in business, politics, diplomacy and academia would need such a conduit is not clearly stated. The CER aims to move into the territory of the Royal Institute for International Affairs, the International Institute for Strategic Studies the Royal United Services Institute, the Foreign Policy Centre, theBritish American Security Information Council and even the Henry Jackson Society. Charles Grant the director boasted that “Several publications by CER Director Charles Grant, have helped to set the agenda in the debate on European Defence.” The small world of agenda setters can be seen in an early biography of the CER’s new director, Mark Leonard that stated that he was formerly the Director of the:

“Foreign Policy Institute at Demos… leading the Demos Europe series… now Director of the Foreign Policy Centre. Educated at Cambridge University, Mark has previously worked as a journalist at The Economist, as political adviser to Calum Macdonald MP (Minister of State for Scotland) and as a stagiaire [sic] in the legal service of the European Council of Ministers in Brussels. Mark is a regular broadcaster and contributes to publications ranging from The Guardian to The Sun. He is a member of FCO Panel 2000, the Government body responsible for modernising the way Britain presents itself to the world. He also sits on the Policy Committees of the European Movement and the Fabian Society.”

Leonard is also with the European Council for Foreign Relations. Grant had been on a leaked list of prospective Labour candidates leaked to the Independent, in the ‘Seat sought’ section it states “Urban seat anywhere.” In one section titled ‘To Sell the Truth’ his writings for the think tanks have outlined that:

“The term “public diplomacy” is often a euphemism for propaganda. But the proliferation of information in open societies (and, increasingly, in closed ones as well) makes it more difficult for governments to control information. Attempts to distort the truth will eventually be exposed and therefore will create even greater skepticism of governments. Moreover, because most ideas that people absorb about a country are beyond the control of national governments—books, CDs, films, television programs, or brands and consumer products with national connotations—governments can only have an impact at the margins by seeking to clear paths for the most positive messages to reach mass audiences while working directly to influence the opinions of niche audiences.”

It could well be that the CER only really offers low level access at their private gatherings, but their past address in Tufton Street was something of a political lobbyist’s Tin Pan Alley and their present address at 14 Great College Street, London is shared with an odd nexus of lobbyists.

But with organisations such as the Westminster Foundation for Democracy (set up to recast the work of MI6 in a more acceptable light in the early 1990s) we see a very institutionalised version of soft power providing a cover-story strategy for the CIA’s and MI6’s covert interventions and interference abroad — pioneered by the US National Endowment for Democracy’s ‘democracy assistance’ programmes — largely the development of ancillary services to support the primary activities of US foreign policy by concocting ‘indigenous’ organisations, orchestrating political ‘crises,’ funding phoney NGOs.

Intelligence connections

Together with its neo-conservative connections, the CER can be said to have both UK and US intelligence connections as part of the UK’s role as an agent for the US in the EU. CER director, Charles Grant, is a former Defence Editor of The Economist, who writes on UK/US intelligence and works closely with the Foreign Office, collaborating with individuals such asRoger Liddle and Mark Leonard (at the Foreign Policy Centre). He was on the official list of approved Labour Party Candidates, leaked to The Independent.[33][34][35]

Grant was also moved on to the British Council with Lord Dennis Stevenson and is another of his proteges (he wrote articles on the Blue Arrow affair in which Stevenson was involved, for The Economist which was owned by Pearson, which at the time was chaired by Stevenson). He has also written with Prospect magazine editor, David Goodhart. He attended a 24/11/02 ‘informal group of Businessmen and politicians’ (the Club of Three) initiated by Lord Weidenfeld which included Peter Mandelson, Sir Evelyn de Rothschild, Lord Douglas Hurd, Baroness Margaret Jay, Lord Tugendhat and Michael Maclay.[36]

As has been noted in Private Eye[37], Maclay, worked at LWT under John Birt and Mandelson, a career Foreign Office official he is a special advisor to the CER’sCarl Bildt. McLay was also an early member of BAP and is involved in Hakluyt: the strategic intelligence firm, many of whose directors were formerly senior figures in MI6.[38] Sir Anthony Hammond, the former Treasury solicitor who conducted the official inquiry into the Hinduja passports affair (and let Mandelson off the hook) has a salaried position as the official legal adviser to Hakluyt.

Demos’ Ian Hargreaves is on the CER board with Baroness Elizabeth Smith – the wife of the late Labour leader. She has, since 1998, been on the board of Hakluyt who spied on environmental groups for oil companies, including BP. Smith is an advisor for BP Scotland. Hargreaves was on the board of Greenpeace and Hayklut spied on Greenpeace.

BP is well represented on the board of the CER. Shell fund Demos and their offices are across the road. Demos Trustee, Andrew Mackenzie is their Treasurer and also BP group vice president for chemicals. Hakluyt also spied on Anita Roddick’s Body Shop; and Roddick is also on the Demos Board.[39][40]

The Atlantic Council of the United Kingdom was formed in 1994 when the British Atlantic Committee and Peace Through NATO (PTN) joined forces. PTN was the group used by then Defence Secretary Michael Heseltine to undermine CND. The Hakluyt connection (and the Demos connections: Hargreaves, Haskins) with the CER (which is a partner with the Atlantic Council of the American Enterprise Institute) are a slight indication that perhaps there are continuities in Demos with anti-Left operations dating back to Heseltine, Lord Carrington and Brian Crozier’s days.

The CER’s founder Nick Butler brought funding from BP and RTZ to help in BAP’s aim to groom the future Labour leadership because:

“The traditional British left-wing remained deeply suspicious of the United States, particularly on foreign policy and security issues. The British American Project (BAP) was made to counter this suspicion and encourage admiration for US-style market forces”.[41][42]

According to investigative journalist Paul Foot: ‘Butler has been an ideological pillar of New Labour ever since he wrote a book with Neil Kinnock in 1987 trying to persuade people to vote Labour because the party had changed its attitude to shareholders and had been converted to the case for making money for nothing’.[43]

There is also a strong link with the Economist Intelligence Unit, which fund the CER, Katinka Barysch the CER’s deputy director was an editor there until 1998. As was Simon Tilford who joined the CER in February 2006 as head of the business unit, Tilford was also with securities business, Nomura International, who also fund the CER, as did Philip Whyte the CER’s Senior Research Fellow.

Apart from the NAI connections, Grant is part of the advisory board of Freedom House Europe, part of the National Endowment for Democracy which came into existence to take over the ‘democracy promotion’ work of the CIA, as part of the grand Reaganite scheme of ‘Project Democracy’, which also saw the instigation of BAP. Here Grant overlaps with the CIA-funded Radio Free Europe /Radio Liberty Inc.

Grant’s commentry has a slight edge of unintentional humour about it, note the punch line on this summary of the banking crisis:

The so-called phantom banking industry of institutions and instruments that focused on fiendishly complex off-balance sheet financing was poorly regulated. Those in charge of many leading banks appear to have had no idea about the risks they were taking on. Their pay packages were ridiculous and unjustified, especially when those who had failed received tens of millions of dollars of ‘compensation’ for being fired. The property and credit booms in the US, the UK, Spain and Ireland were excessive. And the British decision to allow the building societies (mutuals) to turn themselves into banks – and their subsequent move into risky financial instruments and models of funding – may have been an error.[44]

All that just so he can infer it may not have been an ‘error,’ and trickle out the mildest rebuke.

Influence

Robert Dover states that on the subject of international pressure on the UK’s defence policy, and the Europeanization of British defence, a discourse exists that states that “to retain America’s involvement in European security Britain has to persuade European Allies to bolster their military capabilities to ‘share the burden’ of European security.” Concern over US attitudes to the EU ran parallel to the UK government arguing for military action in Kosovo. Dover also adds:

The Prime Minister was convinced by George Robertson and his European Policy Advisor, Stephen Wall that the government could act to bolster the transatlantic Alliance and also fulfil the Labour party’s election pledge to become a ‘force for good’ in the world […] Charles Grant, Director of the Centre for european Reform, spent a great deal of time discussing these issues with FCO, MoD and Cabinet Office officials, particularly with the policy Units of the MoD and FCO and the European Secretariat of the Cabinet Office as well as with Tony Blair’s personal political advisor Roger Liddle.[45]

For Dover, the evidence is that Liddle ‘was impressed’ by Grant’s case for European defence integration and Liddle conveyed his arguments to the Prime Minister and the policy was taken forward. Robertson is also an advisory board member of the CER, and the organisation has been regularly used by Peter Mandelson. Dover states that Grant’s role was:

…perceived to be a strong external validating influence on Blair’s opinions on this policy, although […] a multitude of actors and institutions were included in the consultation process…

Dover was told that details of the membership of the MoD’s working group was restricted information. Yet study of this ‘multitude’ reveals a very narrow range of similar individuals in overlapping organisations. Dover quotes (p. 48) the Guardian’s Michael White as describing Grant as part of Blair’s inner circle and suggests that the agenda setting Saint Malo Accord (involving the French and UK governments on a Common Foreign and Security Policy) was inspired by Grant.[46]

Charles Grant and Liddle and Stephen Wall were signatories of a joint letter ‘Treaty charts the course for Europe’ in support of the EU Reform Treaty, and believe that the UK’s best interest lies in a fully committed membership of the EU,’ urging the EU to continue with a policy of enlargement (this was before the conflict in Georgia). The letter was signed by:

Catherine Fieschi, Director, Demos, Charles Grant, Director, Centre for European Reform, Ian Kearns, Deputy Director, Institute for Public Policy Research, Mark Leonard, Executive Director, European Council on Foreign Relations, Roger Liddle, Vice-Chair, Policy Network, Roland Rudd, Chairman, Business for New Europe, Sir Stephen Wall, London EC2.[47]

Liddle, who has had frequent contact with Grant and the CER, is the chair of Peter Mandelson’s thin tank Policy Network, this also includes Patrick Diamond, Head of long-term policy in the UK Prime Minister’s Office, Michael Van Hulten, Managing director of government relations at Burson-Marsteller.

Shared Office

The CER’s office was 29 Tufton Street, Westminister, which they shared with the Tory Reform Group which contains: Michael Heseltine, Kenneth Clarke, Lord Hunt, Lord Hurd, Chris Patten, Sir Malcolm Rifkind, Sir Tim Sainsbury and a host of other top Conservatives. The office is also used by the Action Centre for Europe which gathers together: Lord Carrington, Lord Howe, Lord Brittan, Kenneth Clarke, Stephen Dorrell, Chris Patten, Lord Hunt and so on. The Conservative Group for Europe (much the same line-up) are also tucked in there. At number 11, the European Movement’s offices are down the road and so are those of the Social Market Foundation. The Adam Smith Institute also occupy Tufton Street.

As of 2007 their address is just round the corner at 14 Great College Street Westminster, London, SW1P 3RX UK.

References

  1. Centre for European Reform (2009) About the CER, accessed 1 April, 2009.
  2. See [The Arab Reform Initiative http://www.arab-reform.net/],
  3. See US/Middle East Project (2008) Mission Statement, the biographical details are from the menu titled ‘senior advisors’, it also has an international advisory board which includes Peter Sutherland.
  4. Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs (2004) The New Atlantic Initiative, accessed 20 August 2009. References to the NAI seem to have been taken from the AEI website, the JCPA site puts the NAI into an Israeli perspective adding:”Since March 2000, JCPA has been cooperating with the American Enterprise Institute and 18 think-tanks in the U.S., Europe, and the Middle East, examining ways to revitalize the Atlantic Community and U.S.-Israel relations.” The JCPA site lists Cooperating Institutions as the Ari Movement (Istanbul), Atlantic Club of Bulgaria (Sofia), Atlantic Council of the United Kingdom (London), Bohemiae Foundation (Prague), Center for Democracy and Human Rights (Podgorica), Center for the New Europe (Brussels), Centre for European Reform (London), Civic Institute (Prague), Freedom House, German Marshall Fund of the United States(Washington), Hudson Institute (Washington), Institute for Public Affairs (Bratislava), Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs (Jerusalem), Karamanlis Institute (Athens), Paradigmes (Paris), Project for the New American Century (Washington), Slovak Atlantic Commission (Bratislava), U.S. Committee on NATO (Washington)
  5. ↑ American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research (2003) Healing the Transatlantic Rift, New Atlantic Initiative Event, September 12.
  6. Aspen Institute Italia and the New Atlantic Initiative (2003) International Conference, Relaunching the Transatlantic Partnership: Common Goals and Shared Values. Attendees included John R. Bolton, Michael Ledeen, Michael Novak, Antonio Martino, John O’Sullivan, Richard N. Perle, Gary Schmitt, Charles Murray.
  7. ↑ British American Project (2007) Advisory Board, accessed August 20, 2009.
  8. Michael Brenner’s (2003) ‘A Comparison of United States and French Strategies’, Cooperation and Conflict, Vol. 38, No. 3, 187-209, notes that: “The European Union’s Common Foreign and Security Policy is widely seen as a casualty of the fractious dispute over Iraq. Deep cleavages among Union governments together with the Bush administration’s newfound strategy to divide and neutralize the EU as a potential rival power bloc raise the bar for achieving a significant measure of concert.”
  9. Amanda Brown (1995) ‘LORD GILMORE RULES OUT LABOUR THINK TANK ROLE’, Press Association, December 31.
  10. Hugh O’Shaughnessy (1995)’Top diplomat joins Blair’s team’, The Independent, December 31
  11. George Brock (1996) Blair’s Euro-thinkers need to sharpen their ideas on thorny social chapter, The Times, April 15, 1996.
  12. Hermes Database (1997) ‘Chris Smith Appoints Special Adviser,’ Department Of National Heritage, May 15.
  13. Ofcom (2007) Ofcom appoints Julian Eccles as new Communications Director’, Press Release, April 16. At Sky he took over from the former Downing Street spin doctor Tim Allan, who now runs his own financial PR firm, Portland, see Chris Tryhorn (2007) Eccles to head Ofcom’s PR team, Guardian, 16 April.
  14. ↑ CER (2002) Annual Report, Page 9.
  15. ↑ Andy Beckett, “Friends in high places”, The Guardian, 6 November 2004, accessed October 2008
  16. According to an article in the New Statesman, Duncan Parrish, “Right-wing conspiracy or right-on broker of the special relationship?”, 17 May 1999, accessed October 2008 (the same article is also available here as of October 2008) Butler first suggested the British American Project in 1982, when he was a Labour Party insider of the old right and a research fellow at the Royal Institute of International Affairs (Chatham House). Along with many others in the US and Britain who viewed the two countries’ ‘special relationship’ favourably, he had become concerned about the growing tide of anti-American sentiment, particularly within his own party. This was the time of Greenham Common, CND and the battles over US deployment of cruise missiles in Europe. Vietnam and Watergate were fresh in the public’s memory.
  17. ↑ Ditchley Foundation, Home Page,[1], Accessed 25-February-2009
  18. ↑ It is interesting to compare the LSE’s iXXi private ‘breakfast conversations’ chaired by Lord Desai to the CER’s meetings, the iXXi list is available at Previous briefings, LSE, accessed 1 April 2009.
  19. European Institute (2009) Visiting Staff, accessed 15 June 2009.
  20. ↑ John Gray (2007) Neoconned!: How Blair took New Labour for a ride, Independent, 2 June. Accessed 1 April, 2009. The article adds that “Modernisation became the Blairite mantra, and for Blair it meant something precise: the reorganisation of society around the imperatives of the free market.” The article is an edited extract from Gray’s (2007) Black Mass: Apocalyptic Religion and the Death of Utopia (Allen Lane), but makes no mention of his involvement with the CER, although its role is indicated by his observation that “In fact, the war left the transatlantic divide wider than at any time since the Second World War, with British opinion alienated from the US, and Britain at the same time more at odds with Europe even than in Thatcher’s time.” Although well worth reading, the essay has something of Didero’s esprit d’escalier about it, falling back into an exculpation of Blair with Machiavellian ‘reasons of State’ exceptionalism and postmodernist vagueness. Gray’s (1993) Beyond the new right: markets, government and the common environment, (Routledge), explores the complexities of his involvement with the ‘new right.’
  21. ↑ Macmillan (2008) David Hannay, accessed 1 April, 2009. See also Paul Heinbecker, Patricia M. Goff (2005) Irrelevant or indispensable?: the United Nations in the twenty-first century, (Wilfrid Laurier Univ. Press), p.25.
  22. ↑ Foreign & Commonwealth Office (2009) Foreign Office appoints new Strategic Communications Director, Press Release (30/04/2008).
  23. ↑ Qinetiq Website, About Qinetiq, Accessed 20-January-2009
  24. http://www.brookings.edu/fp/cuse/analysis/USEUCompact.pdf
  25. ↑ Charles Grant (2009) Carl Bildt and the cost of speaking plainly, CER, 21 July.
  26. ↑ CER Annual Report 2003.
  27. Anatole Kaletsky (2002) Bush needs the Left to retain his global power, The Times, April 25.
  28. The presence of the German Marshall Fund of the US dates back to the more open side of the project to shape post-war cold war Europe, but this also contained public diplomacy and propaganda aspects.
  29. Robert Winnett and Martin Beckford (2009) Kitty Ussher resigns from Government over £17,000 tax dodge: MPs’ expenses, Telegraph, 17 June.
  30. ↑ Ginsberg, Marc, (2003)Industry Announcements, APCO Creates Iraq Reconstruction Task, May 20, APCO Worldwide. Ginsberg is part of a US Public Diplomacy operation in the form of Layalina Productions, together with the key players in US Public Diplomacy.
  31. The CER and Mandelson’s ‘Think Tank’ the Policy Network hold joint seminars, as can be seen in the CER’s list of events, these include the 9 October 2006, Policy Network and the London School of Economics public debate on ‘The Global Age: Europe, India, China. Speakers included: Anthony Giddens, Peter Mandelson, Roger Liddle, Patrick Diamond and Katinka Barysch.
  32. ↑ CER (2002) Annual Report, Page 4-5.
  33. ↑ Leaked Labour Candidate List,Charles Grant, Accessed 20-January-2009.
  34. ↑ Centre European Reform,Charles Grant Biog, Accessed via webarchive 20-January-2009
  35. ↑ Foreign & Commonwealth Office in Spain British Embassy Homepage in Spain, Accessed 20-January-2009
  36. ↑ IWM Institut für die Wissenschaften vom Menschen Newsletter Winter 2002/No.1, p. 1, accessed 30 March 2009
  37. ↑ No. 1031
  38. ↑ Donald Macintyre, Foreign affairs advisers remain decisive players: Donald Macintyre examines the role of a key group of civil servants, The Independent, 9-September-1994, Accessed 20-January-2009
  39. ↑ Maurice Chittenden and Nicholas Rufford, MI6 ‘Firm’ Spied on Green Groups, Commondreams Newscentre, Accessed 20-January-2009
  40. ↑ Burkes Scotland, Baroness Smith Profile, Accessed via web archive 20-January-2009
  41. ↑ Andy Beckett,Friends in High Places, The Guardian, 6-November-2004, Accessed 20-January-2009
  42. ↑ Dead HyperlinkDead Hyperlink
  43. ↑ Paul Foot, Big Business and Government:Tony Blair’s well oiled machine, News Review, Socialist Review, No.245, October 2000, p.5., Accessed 20-January-2009
  44. ↑ Charles Grant (2008) In defence of Anglo-Saxon capitalism, CER, September 29.
  45. ↑ Robert Dover (2007) Europeanization of British defence policy, Ashgate Publishing, (p. 47).
  46. ↑ See also: Charles Grant and Mark Leonard (2006) HOW TO BUILD A BETTER EU FOREIGN POLICY April/May 2006, CER BULLETIN, ISSUE 47. See also Kori Schake, Amaya Bloch-Lainé, and Charles Grant, “Building a European Defense Capability,” Survival, Spring 1999, pp. 20-40, and Peter W. Rodman (1999) “NATO and the European Union’s ‘Common Foreign and Security Policy’”, Remarks prepared for the Subcommittee on European Affairs Committee on Foreign Relations, United States Senate, Wednesday, March 24.
  47. ↑ Fieschi et al (2007) Letters: ‘Treaty charts the course for Europe’, Independent, 14 December.
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2 Responses to “The Centre for European Reform”

  1. jasunhorsley Says:

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