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He is attracting the support, or at least the interest of, eurosceptics, free-market liberals, social conservatives and Catholics (Ganley is an unabashed orthodox Catholic) and libertarians.

Ganley, mind you, has always rejected the eurosceptic tag, insisting instead that Libertas is pro-Europe and that it is, in fact, "for the ongoing development and integration of Europe".

What this means in practice, he says, is a more powerful parliament that would "have the power to initiate legislation". In addition, the EU would have a directly elected president, but only so long as this had first been approved by the citizens of the EU member-states. At the same time, he states, the EU must respect the principle of subsidiarity and resist "competence creep", which he describes as "competence grab". He told Standpoint: "We want the EU to abide by its own rules and that means not straying outside the competences granted to it. It means abiding by the principle of subsidiarity, which respects the sovereignty of the member-states. If the EU followed its own rules there would be much less euro-scepticism. We will insist that it does."

As an example of competence creep, he noted that the European Court of Justice was already acting as though the Charter of Fundamental Rights were part of EU law. Also, he cited an aborted attempt by the European Commission last year to restrict the right of religious schools to employ only people who they believe would respect their ethos. The Commission said this violated EU equality law. It withdrew its action only under considerable pressure from the affected member-states.

With regard to hot-button social issues such as abortion and same-sex marriage, he says Libertas believes that these should be left exclusively to member-states and that EU competence in such areas as non-discrimination should not be used, as is currently the case, to interfere in family law, over which the EU has no direct competence. Libertas will also do more to highlight corruption and waste within the EU, he insists.

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