Editorial: Still an island of ignorance about Europe

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Given the importance that David Cameron clearly attaches to his Europe speech and its unusually long period of gestation, it would be reasonable to expect that the merits of various dates and venues had been thoroughly considered in advance. Yet only a week before the mooted day, it is suddenly announced that the speech will be brought forward – to avoid a clash, apparently, with one of the biggest dates in the Euro-calendar, the 50th anniversary of the Elysée Treaty which sealed the post-war reconciliation between France and Germany.

The apparent unawareness of this date and its significance suggests not only a lamentable degree of ignorance in Mr Cameron's entourage, but a wider failure to appreciate that the UK is not alone either in Europe or the world. Is there no one in the PM's office who keeps a year-ahead diary of significant events? And if there is, why did no one look at it?

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