Britain's new policy on Europe
If you want to know where the new British government really stands in its approach to Europe, today offered the best insight so far. Addressing parliament the Foreign Secretary, William Hague, promised to be more "robust" in defending Britain's national interest. In dealing with the EU there would be a mixture of "yes we can" and "no we can't".
Firstly, the bottom line. There would be no further transfer of sovereignty or powers from Britain to the EU over the course of the parliament. The foreign secretary said he was responding to the mood in Britain.
He cited an opinion poll in which just 31% of the British people believed that membership of the EU was a good thing. "The new government," said William Hague, "is agreed that there is a profound disconnection between the British people and what has been done in their name by British governments in the European union."
Addressing the former foreign secretary David Miliband, he said the last government's legacy on Europe was "public disenchantment after years of arrogance from ministers who don't listen to the people".
This is an instinct deeply held by the foreign secretary, and over the next five years it is likely to lead to a clash at some stage with Britain's European partners.
William Hague said the 1972 European Communities Act would be amended to deal with the lack of "proper democratic control" over the way the EU had developed. There was the renewed promise of a referendum before any further powers were transferred to Brussels or before Britain joined the euro.
But the coalition with the Liberal Democrats is obviously constraining both his and his party's instincts. He was asked by the fiercely eurosceptic Bill Cash to introduce a sovereignty bill to allow the UK to override European regulation "in the national interest".
William Hague said ministers were examining the case for such a change, but he conceded it was not the view of his coalition partners.
Over the crisis in the eurozone, the foreign secretary promised to help Europe tackle its financial crisis. "A strong and healthy eurozone is in the country's interests" - but there would be limits.
Sanctions against those nations who broke the rules may be the way forward for those countries in the eurozone, but "they should never apply to those countries which retain their own currencies".
The government would also resist the plans for scrutiny of the budget first by other EU countries: "We are absolutely firm that our national budget must always be presented first to our national parliament."
In a nutshell, greater "economic governance" is fine for those countries in the eurozone, but not for Britain.
Mr Hague put down a strong marker. If the answer to the crisis in the eurozone was for further powers to be transferred to Brussels it would be resisted in Britain.
However, the government will be pushing for an extension of the single market into the service sector. They will also be seeking to lighten regulation, particularly on business. They would co-operate with the European Commission in seeking a 30% cut in carbon emissions.
Like others, the foreign secretary said the main issue facing the EU was the lack of growth, which he described as "anaemic."
The basic message was that Britain would be co-operative, but it would not agree to