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We have a new Treaty for Europe

by Luis de Sousa Fri Oct 19th, 2007 at 06:12:31 AM EST




Last night the Portuguese Foreign Minister told the foreign press that an agreement on the new Treaty could be achieved still during the day's negotiations. It seemed a bit far fetched taking in account the last moments reluctances of the Italians adding up to the usual problems brought by the Polish.

Today by 1h15 in the morning a short press conference announced the agreement: we have a new Constitutional Treaty. The institutional problems Europe had been facing for the last six years are finally over.

Promoted by Colman - let the distortions and propaganda begin. Again. My understanding is that the new treaty gives you constipation and makes your dogs' fur drop out. I haven't read it yet though.


The participants were all smiles, everyone was happy. The Commission's President had these words:


I'm extremely happy.

We have been discussing the institutional questions for six years and it is in Lisbon that we've reached an agreement.

We are before an historical agreement, that empowers Europe to act in the XXI century

The Portuguese Prime Minister, the present acting President of the Union wasn't far behind:



This is a victory for Europe. We are getting out of a blind alley. We no longer have an institutional crisis [...]

Europe is now stronger to assume its role in the World and solve problems of economy and of its citizens.[...]

The Portuguese Presidency achieved its goal: discuss and approve the text Thursday and Friday start discussing the important issues for EU's future.

Other comments:

Merkel:

"After all the political discussions, this is a great success [...]

Nothing has been changed from the mandate we agreed at the end of the German presidency


Kacinsky (you guess which one):


Poland got what it wanted. The EU reform treaty project is now crowned with success[...]

I'm very happy this business is behind us.

Sarkozy used a tautology:


très grande satisfaction - really big satisfaction

Brown:

It is now time for Europe to move on and devote all our efforts to the issues that matter to the people of Europe - economic growth, jobs, climate change and security.

Interesting words from the UK Independence Party leader Nigel Farage:

Well, here in Lisbon we have agreed a treaty that makes the European Union a country. A country called Europe now exists once this treaty goes through - there is no legal debate or argument about that.

I wish so.


The Italian reluctances were solved by adding one more deputy to their pool (from 72 to 73), which gives Italy parity with the UK but with France or Germany. The Parliament is now constituted by 750 deputy plus its President that now has no voting powers.

The last obstacle was the juridical inclusion of the Ioannina clause, that allows for the suspension of an European decision, even if approved by the majority of the States. Later in December it will be discussed the time frames of such suspension (from six months to two years).

If everyone's happy maybe I should be also. Europe at 27 will finally seem to have a framework to work properly, and with the treaty approved today it will go into effectiveness by the next elections in 2009. But I'll wait until I can read the treaty and take my conclusions from there.

The Treaty will be signed on December 12th and will get the name of the harbouring city - Lisbon.

So c'mon and join this moments of Joy:





Display:
How many referendums do we get? Ireland for one ...
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Fri Oct 19th, 2007 at 05:39:07 AM EST
Depending on the text.

I'm not in favour of referending a technical text like the former Constitution.

You might find me At The Edge Of Time.

by Luis de Sousa (luis[dot]a[dot]de[dot]sousa[at]gmail[dot]com) on Fri Oct 19th, 2007 at 05:52:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm assuming we'll have as few as they can get away with. The Irish one is required by the constitution here, so that can't be avoided, but it should be passed easily enough if the pro- parties (i.e. almost all of them) actually try to push it.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Fri Oct 19th, 2007 at 06:13:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
France also has a constitutional mandate. Brown will try to avoid it with a little help from the Lib Dems. The Danes are asking for one, and there was a recent poll (I saw it in the Salon) saying that a majority of people in DE, FR, UK, IT and ES all wanted a referendum.

We have met the enemy, and it is us — Pogo
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Oct 19th, 2007 at 06:23:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The poll

The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom - William Blake
by talos (mihalis at gmail dot com) on Fri Oct 19th, 2007 at 06:29:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Less than 20% of respondents even knew what was in it.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Fri Oct 19th, 2007 at 06:35:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I bet you less than 40% of the parlamentarians who will vote to approve it know either. Not that they would admit to it, obviously...

We have met the enemy, and it is us — Pogo
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Oct 19th, 2007 at 06:36:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Hahahaha!...

Would Tony Bliar make a good full-time EU President?

25% Yes 75% No

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Fri Oct 19th, 2007 at 07:21:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
...but whether we'll get it is still up in the air. Fogh has been doing his damnedest to make sure that it's not constitutionally mandated, and I am of the distinct impression that he would prefer to simply ram it through parliament - fortunately his government doesn't have a working majority on Union policy (the Popular Party is euro-skeptic) so avoiding a referendum is going to require the co-operation of the opposition. It really comes down to whether the Social Democrats and Social Liberals think it'll hurt or help them in the coming general elections to hold a referendum. If either of those parties believe that not holding a referendum is beneficial domestically, the treaty can be rammed through parliament (although I'm not sure what the fallout for the current government would be vis-a-vis the Popular Party).

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Fri Oct 19th, 2007 at 10:20:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Germans certainly won't get one.

"If you know your enemies and know yourself, you will not be imperiled in a hundred battles." Sun Tzu
by Turambar (sersguenda at hotmail com) on Fri Oct 19th, 2007 at 12:06:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
No other referendums are definite yet, according to the EUobserver:

Mr Fogh Rasmussen is meeting with UK prime minister Gordon Brown, who himself is also resisting domestic political pressure for an EU referendum, in London on Wednesday (10 October).

Both leaders are keenly aware that a decision to hold a referendum in either country could create a domino effect and put pressure on the other.

So far, only Ireland has said it will definitely have a referendum. The Netherlands - another country where a referendum had been a possibility - recently said it would not have a public poll.


Denmark and the UK are both countries where there is a lot of pressure to hold a referendum, but where the leaders are set against it.
by nanne (zwaerdenmaecker@gmail.com) on Fri Oct 19th, 2007 at 06:31:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Because they believe they would lose it. They don't really have it in them to campaign forcefully for the Political Europe.

We have met the enemy, and it is us — Pogo
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Oct 19th, 2007 at 06:33:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Brown would probably lose it no matter what he does. Anders Fogh Rasmussen, I don't know. Not that I hold him in that much higher regard, but euroscepticism is a different beast in Denmark.

The leader of the Czech Republic also seems opposed to a referendum. See MEP Richard Corbett, here.

The reform treaty does not establish anything like the Political Europe. It is what Blair already claimed of the constitutional treaty. A clean-up exercise.

by nanne (zwaerdenmaecker@gmail.com) on Fri Oct 19th, 2007 at 06:53:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Some callings for referendum in Sweden. The left, the greens, some parliamentarians from the Center, a former EU-parliamentarian from the liberals, and they will get support from some among the Soc Dems.

Highly doubtful though. The people are sceptic about the EU, things has (contrary to predictions) been going good since joining the euro was voted down, odds for a no vote are high.

I would say it mostly depends on how much internal pressure for a referendum - or rather for a no - the leaders of the Center party and the Christ Dems face. Those two parties are in the government and if they face revolt on this issue holding a referendum could be a way of defusing it.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Sat Oct 20th, 2007 at 09:30:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
At last!


Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Fri Oct 19th, 2007 at 06:10:01 AM EST
I am happy to.. yes .. I think it is good... too

A pleasure

I therefore claim to show, not how men think in myths, but how myths operate in men's minds without their being aware of the fact. Levi-Strauss, Claude

by kcurie on Fri Oct 19th, 2007 at 12:28:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The folks over at Statewatch have analysed the text of the treaty:

...the text of the Reform Treaty is completely unintelligible unless it is read alongside the existing Treaties. Furthermore, the full impact of many of the amendments to the Treaties set out in the draft Reform Treaty needs further explanation. Finally, there has been much public discussion of whether or not the draft Reform Treaty is essentially identical to the EU's Constitutional Treaty of 2004.

In order to further public understanding of and debate upon the draft Reform Treaty, the following Statewatch analyses make the text of the draft Treaty comprehensible, by setting out the entire texts of the existing TEU and TEC and showing precisely how those texts would be amended by the draft Treaty. There are explanatory notes on the impact of each substantive amendment to the Treaties, and each analysis includes general comments, giving an overview of the changes and pointing out exactly which provisions of the draft Reform Treaty were taken from the Constitutional Treaty, and which provisions are different from the Constitutional Treaty

There is a non-trivial issue of legitimacy if indeed "more than 90% of the constitution has been carried over into the Reform Treaty". If there was an explicit rejection by referendum of the constitutional treaty, how legitimate (and how democratic) is it, to bring it back in disguise?

The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom - William Blake

by talos (mihalis at gmail dot com) on Fri Oct 19th, 2007 at 06:26:07 AM EST
The only difference between the new Treaty and the Constitution is that the new Treaty does not have the political symbolism of being a Constitution, nor of having been approved by referenda in France and the UK and a few other places (not a full vote by all Europeans, but far more comprehensive than anything before it).

So it's still the EU clanking about rather than being carried by a grand political ambition. In that sense, it pleases the euroskeptics, I suppose. Business as usual.

Although, of course, they know that the EU has a life of its own, and the added powers for the Parliament and a few other changes may have major political impacts in the medium term. We'll see.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Fri Oct 19th, 2007 at 06:35:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, there's some extra pandering to troublemakers like the Poles, the Brits and the Irish in the new version.

No-one can work out why the government here is opting out of some of the justice measures, except that the UK is. The government failed to give any examples of possible problems in a recent debate on the topic.

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Fri Oct 19th, 2007 at 06:37:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The Irish?

Didn't hear much about them. I thought it was Italy that had the last objections.

by Euroliberal on Fri Oct 19th, 2007 at 01:13:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Opt-out on the justice bits that was added after the constitutional treaty failed.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Fri Oct 19th, 2007 at 01:17:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Check out the British press Jérôme, the skeptics are not at all pleased.

All in all this is better than nothing and is a step forward. We can't have the real Europe we want from one day to the other. Maybe when our generation gets to power it'll get easier.

You might find me At The Edge Of Time.

by Luis de Sousa (luis[dot]a[dot]de[dot]sousa[at]gmail[dot]com) on Fri Oct 19th, 2007 at 06:41:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The skeptics won't be pleased by anything less than:

1. The UK leaving the EU, but - perhaps - staying inside the trade area.

or

2. The EU becoming the new British Empire, with the UK firmly in charge, telling all those greasy foreigners how to behave in a civilised way.

The EU's problem is that it's easier for Poland and the UK to run spoiler campaigns when no one seems sure what the EU is supposed to be. Is it aiming for federalism? Neo-liberal business growth? An original vision of cooperation between countries?

The Treaty hasn't solved that problem. This agreement has been running on momentum created the meme that the EU is somehow A Good Thing, but if you ask people why, they're going to have a hard time coming up with convincing reasons.

It's not that the reasons don't exist, it's more that instead of bimbling around with not-a-constitution, the EU could have done itself a big favour by articulating those reasons clearly, and giving everyone a reason to care.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Fri Oct 19th, 2007 at 06:58:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Just having the momentum and the EU as A Good Thing is enough for me.

It keeps the Germans from invading France, limits separtism and at the same time increases trade and cooperation. What's not to like?

OK, the madmen in Brussels trying to deregulate things they don't understand, but still it comes out positive on the whole.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.

by Starvid on Fri Oct 19th, 2007 at 07:08:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Is it aiming for federalism? Neo-liberal business growth? An original vision of cooperation between countries?

I think the Treaty answers those questions:

. No it is not Federalism we are talking about, but the Treaty should strengthen the Confederal framework.

. Yes to neo-liberal business growth, about 80% of the EU citizens have been voting for Liberal politics, that won't change. That's not the aim of the Treaty anyway.

. Yes it is an original vision of cooperation between countries. The EU has been that since the very beginning, this Treaty is just one step further from loose cooperation to an institutional framework, that has only one place to go: a Federation.

You might find me At The Edge Of Time.

by Luis de Sousa (luis[dot]a[dot]de[dot]sousa[at]gmail[dot]com) on Fri Oct 19th, 2007 at 08:20:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That's a good question. But if it brings most of its contents from existing treaties...

You might find me At The Edge Of Time.
by Luis de Sousa (luis[dot]a[dot]de[dot]sousa[at]gmail[dot]com) on Fri Oct 19th, 2007 at 06:35:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Euronews digests it:

http://www.euronews.net/index.php?page=info&article=449117&lng=2&option=1

You can see it in your language of choice, of course.

You might find me At The Edge Of Time.

by Luis de Sousa (luis[dot]a[dot]de[dot]sousa[at]gmail[dot]com) on Fri Oct 19th, 2007 at 08:27:57 AM EST
I don't have the time to spend to fully understand it all.  It sounds too complex. Surely a successful treaty should be one that can be made accessible and understandable for your average person to be able to make an informed decision over - especially given that referanda are required?
by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Fri Oct 19th, 2007 at 09:36:39 AM EST
<sarcasm>
Yes, a detailed legal document balancing the interests and concerns of 26 nation states developed over half a century should be short, easy to read and easy to understand. Just like any other large legal document.
</sarcasm>

The core fallacy here is comparing the EU treaties and documents with constitutions: it's like saying the body of UK law should be written on one side of A4 paper.

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Fri Oct 19th, 2007 at 09:45:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
This was also the error behind the proposed 'Constitution'.
by nanne (zwaerdenmaecker@gmail.com) on Fri Oct 19th, 2007 at 10:05:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The core fallacy here is comparing the EU treaties and documents with constitutions: it's like saying the body of UK law should be written on one side of A4 paper.

This is an interesting perspective for two reasons: First, comparing the treaty to 'the body of UK law' suggests that it is reasonable to expect people (or parliaments) to take an up-or-down vote on 'the body of UK law' - is there any democratic country in the world that does things that way?

Secondly, I disagree vehemently with the assertion that comparing the treaty to a constitution is a fallacy. A document that establishes division of power between states, a federal level, and the People is, by definition, a constitution (or a constitutional amendment). The fact that it's bundled with a bunch of other legislation does not make it any less so.

As an example, would the Danish constitution cease being a constitution if it was packaged along with some copyright law, a bit of environmental regulation, some agreements on infrastructure policy, etc.? I would say no, that wouldn't make it any less a constitution, it would only make it more of a mess.

Separate the wheat from the chaff is what I say: Let us have a Unionwide referendum on the parts that govern how the Union is structured and how the power is distributed (i.e. the constitutional parts) and leave all the other stuff (infrastructure, environmental policy, deregulation) for the parliament to sift through.

But of course, that would require admitting that the Union is, or will shortly become, a federation. And for some reason our politicians are scared by that perspective.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Fri Oct 19th, 2007 at 10:35:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Constitutional amendment is about right.

Anytime you want to persuade the nation states to reconstitute the EU with the citizens of those nation states as the members, feel free: as it stands the states are the members.

I don't hold with the belief that the EU has to become a state to be successful: it seems that it might be able to do something else.

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Fri Oct 19th, 2007 at 11:00:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Depends on your definition of 'success.' My definition involves government by the People, of the People, for the People among other things, and I truly have a hard time seeing how the Union can obey that principle without either giving up a whole lot of authority or giving up the notion that the state and federal level should be intertwined the way they currently are.

But I will not harp on that any further in this thread, since legitimacy and federalisation was the subject of this thread, and I don't want to threadjack this one by turning it into a discussion of where the Union should go from here. My own views on that matter are summed up in this comment. I am, of course, open to other suggestions as to how to achieve transparency and accountability, but in my thinking those two objectives are of paramount importance. Virtually any other subject is secondary, where the Union is concerned.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Fri Oct 19th, 2007 at 11:21:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
An agreement between states ... say, for instance, feudal baronies ... that establishes an executive authority and a directly elected parliament, sometimes results in the development of that confederation into a nation-state.

In the end, it may be history that writes the Constitution of a federal Europe, by imposing upon Europe threats that it cannot face as a confederation of states ... but a future history in which a confederal Europe is good enough seems like a more pleasant future for most people to live through.

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Sun Oct 21st, 2007 at 10:55:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I know the document itself isn't going to be plain english/language of choice but something needs to boil down from it that means something to people who don't have a background in law to refer to.

When the real meaning and implication of something ends up hidden behind a thousand clauses, whose opinion do I take on board when I am trying to make some kind of judgement about what it means to my country? It's no different to most other political issues, I know - that different sides will all put their own selective spin on it.

I don't even know what I'm saying anymore other than I generally wish that people were able to access and understand the important issues that they vote on.

by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Fri Oct 19th, 2007 at 11:12:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It's about aims and means. The aims should be clear enough to state in a sentence or two, even if the details need fifty five thick leather-bound tomes to be equivocated and hedged with enough legalese to have some legal and diplomatic standing.

But currently it's one big pile of confusion. There are some legal obligations which some states have opted out of, and some stuff about who's in the new parliament, and Europe probably isn't trying to federalise or become a new country, but there's a sort of very understated suggestion that this might not be an entirely bad thing to consider in the future - and even an even more implicit suggestion that while some people want this badly, others would rather make their grandmothers drink Sarkozy's old bathwater than allow it to happen, even over their decomposing carcasses.

And so on. Clarity and simplicity are not much in evidence.

The reason they're not in evidence is because there's very little agreement about the point of the exercise. This is a fall-back CYA position result from the failure of the 'proper' constitution, which was badly argued, badly designed, and 'sold' to the public with a miserable lack of sensitivity which had the happy effect of confirming many people in their worst views of the EU.

So now we have something which agrees that more business support will be good for business, and that a Foreign Minister is needed, and er - some other stuff. More or less.

Only no one is going to be allowed to vote on it. (Because that's the only real reason this is NotAConstitution.)

The Declaration of Independence it isn't.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Fri Oct 19th, 2007 at 12:16:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Oh I just posted a comment at the bottom before I saw this that effectively says the same thing as you have done here.
by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Fri Oct 19th, 2007 at 12:28:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Wouldn't a nice clear statement of aims be just lovely, together with a nice aspirational statement about rights of citizens and such things. Unfortunately, that doesn't seem on the cards at the moment. And it won't be until we put it there.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Fri Oct 19th, 2007 at 12:52:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, it is a feature of both bundling it together with everything else and the intent of making it unreadable. Don't take my word for it, I bookmarked this from ET months ago:

The new EU reform treaty text was deliberately made unreadable for citizens to avoid calls for referendum, one of the central figures in the treaty drafting process has said.

Speaking at a meeting of the Centre for European Reform in London on Thursday (12 July) former Italian prime minister Giuliano Amato said: "They [EU leaders] decided that the document should be unreadable. If it is unreadable, it is not constitutional, that was the sort of perception".

EU Observer has unfortunately put it behind a subscription wall, costs 0.5 euros to get it, and you need a paypal account. The audio version of the speaking is still available freely at opendemocracy.

I think it is fair to criticise stuff for being unreadable when they are intentionally made so.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Sat Oct 20th, 2007 at 09:15:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The Powers That Be have gone out of their way to avoid having referendums on this treaty. Or just public discourse in general. They were very successful. It looks like Ireland will be the only country that will hold a referendum.
by nanne (zwaerdenmaecker@gmail.com) on Fri Oct 19th, 2007 at 10:09:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I wonder how that will work in France ; with Sarko's divorce (which is a partly successfull attempt to bury both the news on the treaty and the big strikes), the strike, maybe Sarko is about to lose his media sweet spot, in which case the public opinion debate about the treaty and labor protests may interfere and create a big protest movement of the 1995 kind. Right now the treaty isn't getting much airplay, though.

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères
by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Fri Oct 19th, 2007 at 11:57:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, exactly my feeling.

Even our Flemish quality paper had this nice comment:

De Standaard Online - Leiders bereiken akkoord over nieuw Europees verdrag Leaders reach agreement on new Treaty for Europe
Het resultaat, daarover zijn voor- en tegenstanders het eens, is een onleesbaar werkstuk dat zelfs beslagen eurojuristen aan de rand van een zenuwinzinking kan brengen. The result, and everybody agrees on that, is an unreadable paper that may cause nervous breakdown among our most capable Euro-jurists.


The struggle of man against tyranny is the struggle of memory against forgetting.(Kundera)
by Elco B (elcob at scarlet dot be) on Fri Oct 19th, 2007 at 11:37:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yet there was nothing but whinging when they did it as an integrated document.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Fri Oct 19th, 2007 at 11:57:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, the treaty is as it is now.  But for me the accessibility of it makes me think about the incoming Single Equalities Act for the UK and a comment that was made to me about how such a piece of legislation needs to be clear enough so that people will know what their rights are from it.  You can't do that with equality legislation as it exists.  I'm an accredited discrimination law advisor but still, it's horrendous trying to navigate everything.

But with this new Act, there is a certain purpose to it. Within it there are different themes each with a purpose and an implication. Behind that is the legal text.  If the purpose can be agreed, then the legal speak is written to serve that purpose, without it getting lost along the way.
I doubt that the Act will be written accessibly, but why can't there be a front layer with a clear purpose that sums up what the legal clauses under that section mean, to each country, to the EU?

To need to have the previous treaties to read alongside the new one in order to understand it, doesn't suggest clarity in any way to me.  I'm trying not to be ignorant of the fact that with that many members states and with so many different and often conflicting demands, that the process then beomes hugely complex - but if only the people directly involved with it or those who have legal expertise have a hope in hell of understanding the meaning, then I'm not convinced.

by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Fri Oct 19th, 2007 at 12:26:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The problem is the difference between the aims - what the legislatin is meant to achieve - and its actual effect, which is decided by the courts. The summary would be meaningless and, even worse, would be called dishonest by the anti-crowd where it disagrees with their interpretation of the language in the real stuff.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Fri Oct 19th, 2007 at 12:41:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It is possible for the courts to interpret legislation with the purpose of the legislation and what it is meant to achieve in mind. I know all sorts of things get overturned from one case to another though. I'm not ignorant of the complexities or totally removed from the pragmatics but I suppose I am idealistic about what I'd really like to see.
by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Fri Oct 19th, 2007 at 05:54:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I predict a long, messy ratification process for the "Treaty of Lisbon" (tm). I hope it gets through in the end, maybe even before 2010.

"If you know your enemies and know yourself, you will not be imperiled in a hundred battles." Sun Tzu
by Turambar (sersguenda at hotmail com) on Fri Oct 19th, 2007 at 12:18:47 PM EST
moment of joy?

well, not exactly...

i see it as a snapshot in history, a distillation of centuries of recorded social engineering, from the first tribal groupings on to ....what?

it's 'just' a one point in a long journey, and compared to some of the horrendous social situations the masses of europe have endured over the centuries, the last 50 years have been a kind period indeed.

compared to what some of us envision and express our desire for here at ET, we have barely begun.

so i don't see it as cynically as some, though it certainly is tempting, lol, when you see some of the leaders.

on the whole i resonate most with in this thread is in wales' plea for a presentation of an historical document of great significance to be in language normal people don't need a lawyer to explain-

  in this day and age i think a worldwide wiki on the composition, details, and possible ramifications would have been much more likely to produce something 'everyman/woman' could understand.

we've come a long way, baby, and we've still got so very far to go...

i'll raise a glass to that, if that makes you full of joy, louis, i'm happy too!

we have many blessings here in europe, and many things about which we can truly be proud...

prost!

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Fri Oct 19th, 2007 at 03:29:21 PM EST
Oh, thank you: someone else who sees this as a step in a process rather than the end of the line.

If we want the perfect treaty it's up to us to make it happen.

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Fri Oct 19th, 2007 at 03:31:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I find myself in the interesting position of not knowing who are these fine and upstanding gentlemen are. I recognize M. Sarkozy, I think, but the others? Can anyone identify them for me, so I can put mental pictures of faces to the descriptions of positions?
by Mnemosyne on Fri Oct 19th, 2007 at 07:37:28 PM EST
They are all men aren't they?  There appears to be a woman at the top of the top photo but her head has been chopped off.

Actually, this makes me quite angry. How the hell we can ever hope to achieve gender equality, let alone any other form of equality when hugely important treaties like this are almost entirely put together by white (and probably middle class) men.

by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Sat Oct 20th, 2007 at 03:35:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I was thinking the same thing - but did not have the time to comment, now you did for me too. Wish I could give you another 10!
by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Oct 20th, 2007 at 03:43:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And I, when I see photos like this, know how right I was to vote 'no' in our EU referendum...

Norwegian women tipped the balance in the second EU referendum (1994)...
I remember discussions on the issue of EU equality legislation, or lack of it.  Gender equality in the EU was 'inferior' to what Norwegian women had achieved at that time (and still is, it seems...).

A 'small' issue in the big scheme of things, maybe, but it makes a big difference...  

With this bunch at the top - not much hope.

 

by Solveig (link2ageataol.com) on Sat Oct 20th, 2007 at 07:52:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
When you look at the other photos, above all the full family picture rather than a close shot, you'll see more women -- though the ratio is not much different, I count 8 women (one of them obscured save for a bit of grey hair: the Hungarian foreign minister) and 54 men.

As it happens, I am sad Norway didn't join the EU: you would have tilted  the balance towards a more progressive direction.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Sat Oct 20th, 2007 at 10:22:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Glad to hear that there are a few more women than the picture shows...:-)

Well, I happen to believe that EU membership would have hindered the natural progression we have seen in Norway - on this issue, and many other issues.  There are fundamental differences in outlook (values)and policy on so many levels. As it is, we have to 'fight' the EU regularly on issues that are important to Norway.  If inside, I believe we would have lost our largely bottom-up type of democracy.    

by Solveig (link2ageataol.com) on Sat Oct 20th, 2007 at 11:00:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Or you could have made the EU more bottom-up.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sat Oct 20th, 2007 at 11:14:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I would say that is wishful thinking...

In the EU 'democracy' the majority rules...

The EU system has never been bottom-up, and never will be either, IMO.  

by Solveig (link2ageataol.com) on Sat Oct 20th, 2007 at 12:10:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
In the EU 'democracy' the majority rules...

Democracy is majority rule. What's your point? Trondheim should declare independence from Norway?

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Sat Oct 20th, 2007 at 12:34:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
There was no point other than the fact that I believe the EU is too large for a small nation to have any meaningful influence. I obviously did not make that clear enough in my previous post.
by Solveig (link2ageataol.com) on Sat Oct 20th, 2007 at 12:48:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Isn't Norway too large for Hammerfest to have meaningful influence? (In fact I think Malta has more influence in the EU than Hammerfest in Norway.)

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sat Oct 20th, 2007 at 12:58:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Are you serious?
by Solveig (link2ageataol.com) on Sat Oct 20th, 2007 at 01:15:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I am deadly serious. What part seems unserious to you?

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sun Oct 21st, 2007 at 06:26:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Is Hammerfest more bottom-up then the rest of Norway? Could Hammerfest then change Norway in its image?

It seems to me that Solveig is answering "very little" on what effect Norway would have in EU, and you argue that it would be undemocratic for Norway to have more effect. If so, then it appears you have answered your own question.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Sun Oct 21st, 2007 at 06:17:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Solveig:
There was no point other than the fact that I believe the EU is too large for a small nation to have any meaningful influence.

Poland might disagree with that.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Sat Oct 20th, 2007 at 07:48:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Poland??  

Poland has almost 39 million people.  Norway has just over 4.5 million.  

by Solveig (link2ageataol.com) on Sat Oct 20th, 2007 at 08:39:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
From past events, TBG could have named Denmark (5.45 million) or Ireland (4.3 million), too.

However, what's this Norway-against-everyone-else attitude? Can't you imagine Norway joining up, say, with other Scandinavian countries? That way, due to the higher-than-proportional voting power of smaller EU countries, the Scandinavian block would have 31 (Nice system, assuming 7 for Norway), vs. 27 for Poland and 29 for the four bigs.

Also consider a hypothetical EU-17 in 1996, with Norway and Switzerland as members (3 and 4 seats under the Maastricht system). Then the Scandinavians + Switzerland would have 17 votes (on some issues they could certainly count on Austria too, making it 21), vs. 10 for the four bigs; and all small countries would sum up to 46.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Sun Oct 21st, 2007 at 06:52:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
DoDo:
what's this Norway-against-everyone-else attitude?

I think you misunderstand my sentiment.  I do not see myself as having a 'Norway against everybody else' attitude. However, I have perhaps interpreted some of the replies to my posts as rather confrontational or "in your face". But no doubt that's because I am unfamiliar with online discussions.  

DoDo:

Can't you imagine Norway joining up, say, with other Scandinavian countries?

Norway works tirelessly with its neighbours - within the Nordic Council, in the EU parliament (and in 'the corridors of the EU'), and in many other international fora.  These co-operation processes are maybe not entirely visible to everyone, but they are going on - all the time.

The hypothetical mathematics of Scandinavian 'block voting' within the EU is irrelevant, IMO because none of them currently see anything to gain from further integration.    

   

by Solveig (link2ageataol.com) on Sun Oct 21st, 2007 at 09:43:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Nowadays I feel like you. I used to have a much more open attitude towards the EU and voted for it when it was on the ballot here in Switzerland. But if it should come up again, I probably will vote no.

Like you, I really have learned to appreciate our bottom-up democracy, though I must admit currently I am bitting a little my nails and hope that this weekend it will be again a pragmatic election here in Switzerland. Even if the SVP should win, we still can take up the referendum if they try to impose stuff on us and many new laws have to be but to the people for confirmation anyway. I am just not willing to give that up, especially seeing how this new EU treaty might be forced on to the people in the EU without public discussion.

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Oct 20th, 2007 at 11:18:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
To the contrary, with Switzerland in the EU, I suspect it would have been a lot harder to ram down people's throats than it will now be in mandatory-referendum Ireland.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sat Oct 20th, 2007 at 11:20:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
But we would have had to give up a big chunk of our voting rights.
by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Oct 20th, 2007 at 11:22:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Would you? Why? And I emphasize, the EU containing Norway and Switzerland as voting members during the Constitution/Treaty process would have been a rather different EU than the one that arrived at the current institutional/power politics.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sat Oct 20th, 2007 at 11:25:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, we would not have been able to put up a referendum to vote on laws from Brussels. Maybe we could have but would Brussels have accepted rejection of laws we do not like and voted against?
by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Oct 20th, 2007 at 11:29:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You could, say, put up a referendum to force your government to veto a law you don't like in the Council.

I note that AFAIK, the situation is already close to that in Switzerland: you can't have a post-facto referendum on parliament-voted laws, only on constitutional changes, with the peculiar consequence that some day-to-day matters and specifics that would normally belong into a law end up in the basic law. (Or at least this is what a Swiss colleague told me recently.)

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Sat Oct 20th, 2007 at 12:39:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
OTOH I don't deny that referendum power would probably be more constrained. But for more meaningful discussion, could you give specific examples of EU laws you think the Swiss would have a hard time with?

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sat Oct 20th, 2007 at 12:42:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I will try to repond to you tomorrow - am heading out now. But here for the referendum:

Fakultatives Referendum : Lexikon - Vernunft Schweiz

Unterliegt ein Beschluss des Parlamentes dem faktultativen Referendum, so kann das Volk freiwillig - dies im Unterschied zum obligatorischen Referendum - zu diesem vom Parlament bereits gutgeheissenen Gesetzesvorschlag noch Stellung nehmen. Das bedeutet, dass das Referendum gegen einen vom Bundesparlament getroffenen Beschluss nur auf Verlangen von entweder 50'000 Stimmberechtigten (ihre Unterschrift) oder acht Kantonen durchgeführt und dem Volk zur Abstimmung unterbreitet wird.
Das Volk kann mit dem Ergreifen des fakultativen Referendums über folgende Punkte abstimmen (Art. 141 Abs. 1 BV):
  • Bundesgesetze
  • dringlich erklärte Bundesgesetze, deren Geltungsdauer ein Jahr übersteigt
  • Bundesbeschlüsse, soweit Verfassung oder Gesetz dies vorsehen
  • völkerrechtliche Verträge, die erstens unbefristet und unkündbar sind, zweitens den Beitritt zu einer internationalen Organisation vorsehen oder die drittens eine multilaterale Rechtsvereinheitlichung herbeiführen.

Obligatorisches Referendum : Lexikon - Vernunft Schweiz

Unterliegt ein Beschluss auf Bundesebene dem obligatorischen Referendum, so muss dieser Beschluss zwingend - dies im Unterschied zum fakultativen Referendum - dem Volk und den Ständen zur Abstimmung unterbreitet werden. Das bedeutet, das Volk kann zu diesem vom Parlament bereits gutgeheissene Entschluss noch Stellung nehmen und entscheiden, ob der Beschluss in Kraft treten soll oder nicht.

Es wird unterschieden zwischen obligatorischen Referenden, welche nur von einer Mehrheit des Volks angenommen werden müssen, und obligatorischen Referenden, welche sowohl eine Mehrheit vom Volk als auch eine Mehrheit der Stände (Ständemehr) benötigen.

Dem Volk und den Ständen müssen folgende Punkte obligatorisch zur Abstimmung unterbreitet werden (Art. 140 Abs. 1 BV):
  • Änderungen der Bundesverfassung
  • der Beitritt zu Organisationen für kollektive Sicherheit oder zu supranationalen Gemeinschaften (z.B. EU, UNO, EWR etc.).
  • für dringlich erklärte Bundesgesetze, die keine Verfassungsgrundlage haben und deren Geltungsdauer ein Jahr übersteigt.
by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Oct 20th, 2007 at 01:33:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Thank you, that's interesting. So you really can stop a law directly, rather than just block it indirectly via an amendment. (So maybe the constitutional change thing is valid for referendums resulting from initiatives?)

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sun Oct 21st, 2007 at 06:25:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And do the small countries really have the clout to make such a difference?
by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Oct 20th, 2007 at 11:29:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't think they do...
The system is not made to make it easy for small nations to have any influence.  It is skewed to give the larger nations most say. That is EU 'democracy'...
by Solveig (link2ageataol.com) on Sat Oct 20th, 2007 at 12:03:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Actually, the small Union members wield disproportional clout compared to their populations.* The reason they don't get much say is that they frequently fail to work together (that's part of what makes the notion of a Nordic Federation so appealing to me).

*And as I wrote about - at length - back in the comment I linked to previously, I think that this is going to be a major problem for the Union down the road...

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sat Oct 20th, 2007 at 12:21:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Ireland is a small country. It almost stopped the Treaty of Nice. Denmark is also a small country. It forced the EU to make Schengen and the Euro less than EU-wide.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sat Oct 20th, 2007 at 12:27:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Nevertheless, the concern was whether small countries could make a difference to the level of transparency and accountability and seriously challenge the top-down nature of the Union. That's positive change, rather than negative maintainance of an existing status quo. And that's a wholly different beast.

I'm not saying that small countries should be able to make major active change by themselves - that would seem frankly perverse - but you have to concede that those minors whose populations have been concerned about the lack of transparency, accountability and bottom-up decisionmaking have not accomplished much. This is not entirely the Union's fault, because I do believe that if our governments had been serious about pushing for it, Something Would Have Happened. OTOH, the way the Union system is structured makes it entirely too convenient for our politicians to 'forget' about pushing for accountability.

In other words, in many minors the perception is that once you get on the Union train, only your politicians get a shot at trying to control the direction. And historically minor countries' politicians have been - ah - less than vigorous in their defense of transparency in the Union. Or to put it in even simpler terms, the euroskeptics have entirely too much of a valid point for my liking.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sat Oct 20th, 2007 at 12:43:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
you have to concede that those minors whose populations have been concerned about the lack of transparency, accountability and bottom-up decisionmaking have not accomplished much.

That's partly because recent enlargements, though they increased the weight of small EU members, did so by bringing in governments uninterested in such progressive change and populations too cynical to even expect this of them. (I say this as a sad inhabitant of one.)

I do believe that if our governments had been serious about pushing for it, Something Would Have Happened

On an even darker note: if the populations had been more serious about this, they would have forced their governments to be more serous about pushing it. In my view, there is a quality of self-fulfilling prophecy about Scandinavian Euroscepticism.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Sat Oct 20th, 2007 at 12:55:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That's partly because recent enlargements, though they increased the weight of small EU members, did so by bringing in governments uninterested in such progressive change and populations too cynical to even expect this of them. (I say this as a sad inhabitant of one.)

I don't buy that. The transparency and accountability problem was there long before the expansion. I don't know whether the expansion made a difference one way or the other (on the one hand, it diluted the power of the GER-FRA-UK axis, OTOH it brought in a host of problems, like the Cyprus/Turkey conflict and the Polish Twins and their happy gang of neo-McCarthyists).

On an even darker note: if the populations had been more serious about this, they would have forced their governments to be more serous about pushing it.

Precisely what tools do you suggest that we use to pitch the notion of accountability to our political caste? Every time we turn down an expansion, as we did with the €, it is interpreted as a combination of ignorance and nationalism by virtually all the major political parties, so that's evidently not a viable way of affecting change (well, it'll affect change, but in some pretty random directions). If you're suggesting prioritizing the Union over domestic issues for parliamentary votes, you're in for a rude surprise.

In every survey in which the Danish population is asked about the reasons for its euroskepticism, roughly half the nay-sayers cite lack of transparency and accountability, or some proxy therefore such as bureaucracy or corruption. Which suggests to me that if our Dear Leaders would stop sitting on their collective hands and actually go hell-for-leather in support of substantial reforms to increase transparency, we'd poll a solid majority in favour of the Union. Which is what our political class claims to desire. Yet it seems hell-bent on remaining in the current state of willful ignorance, so precisely what tools do we have left? This is not a rhetorical question, by the way, I would genuinely like to know.

In my view, there is a quality of self-fulfilling prophecy about Scandinavian Euroscepticism.

Perhaps so, but OTOH it's a bit much to expect us to give up a functioning and reasonably transparent system in order to try to make the Union work - especially when, if history is anything to judge by, it's unlikely to work. Add in the fact that our politicians seem more interested in making the people fit the union (euphemistically termed 'selling the Union' is if it were some cheap fast-food that one could pitch in an advertisement), rather than in attempting to make the Union fit the people, and I can't say I blame those of my fellow citizens who wish a pox on the new Treaty.

<rant>

Furthermore, take a look at the way this new treaty was made: Some commission cooks up a travesty of a constitution (behind closed doors, I might add) that is actually a mish-mash of constitutional bits, concrete policy initiatives and vague statements of intent, watered down with copious application of diplomat-speak, so as to make it essentially (and unnecessarily) unreadable.*

Our good-for-nothing politicians then have sheer gall to be surprised when the voters reject that abomination as an insult to their intelligence. Furthermore, they then go on to figure out ways to repackage and resell essentially the same treaty in a new wrapping - except this time the take a quite inordinate amount of care to surgically excise the bits and pieces that would make referendums constitutionally mandated. And they even have the chutzpah to tell us in so many words that that's what they're doing. Put in those terms, is it still hard to understand that some people might get the impression that all those smiling men in suits give less than a fart in a flashbulb what the citizens think?

*Take the preamble, as an example. Instead of simply saying something nice and plain and readable like 'We the duly elected representatives of the People of the undersigned states, in order to form a more perfect Union enact this treaty to take immediate effect in all territories and jurisdictions of the undersigned states' followed by a list of signatures and countries, it contained the next best thing to three pages of utter crap about the deep and significant cultural ancestry of Europe - hell, it was all that some of the saner governments could do to prevent the inclusion of Europe's 'Christian Values' from making the cut!

</rant>

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sat Oct 20th, 2007 at 02:10:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The EU has to solve complex coordination problems. To a large extent technocratic answers ARE what's needed. And we know that the public simply does not care to enter into complex issues - they always vote for the demagogue over the technocrat/the wonk (the guy you'd have beer with).

Even on big issus like global climate change or energy security of supply, awareness has been gained by oversimplifying and personalising. Same thing on institutional reform. It's the  British "red lines" - the "Sarkozy dynamism" - the Polish brinkmanship, etc...

People complain about the lack of transparency and the demagoguery but vote for it anyway, when they actually have a choice about it (and if they didn't understand the choice, it's because od the demagoguery).

Even trying to explain something as basic, from a technical pov, as the difference between average pricing and marginal pricing, is beyond what most people will ever bother to learn about.

The problem is not the lack of transparency. It's the lack of care by most people, and their corresponding willingness to be fed lies and disinformation that they vaguely feel is lies and disinformation, but cannot be bothered to actually unravel.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sun Oct 21st, 2007 at 05:18:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The EU has to solve complex coordination problems. To a large extent technocratic answers ARE what's needed. And we know that the public simply does not care to enter into complex issues - they always vote for the demagogue over the technocrat/the wonk (the guy you'd have beer with).

I do not have a problem with technocratic solutions. What I have a problem with is that those technocratic solutions are incorporated into the same document that regulates the functioning of the technocrats that make them. For instance, what in the name of the Union are articles on preventing fraud and organizing an inner market doing in the same text as clauses on citizenship and separation of powers? What prevents us from making a nice, clean constitution that covers the establishment of a set of institutions and the powers vested in them without having a hundred and fifty-odd pages of riders concerning specific policies?

Then we could discuss the specifics of those institutions and the specifics of the attached bill of rights without getting bogged down in meaningless details that are important only because they are given the force of constitutional law. I noticed that the original treaty imposed a blanket ban on reproductive cloning, for one thing - how does that belong in a bill of rights? That's a discussion I'd have loved to have had without having to give an up-or-down vote on simultaneously encasing twenty or thirty specific policies.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sun Oct 21st, 2007 at 05:15:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Because the devil is in the details: countries won't approve the big issues without the accompanying details.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Sun Oct 21st, 2007 at 05:41:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The transparency and accountability problem was there long before the expansion.

Of course it was. The way I read you, this problem couldn't be addressed because progress there was advocated by small member countries, which didn't have enough weight against the big ones. What I said is that now the weight of small countries is larger, but that didn't improve things because the new small ones don't advocate improved transparency.

Precisely what tools do you suggest that we use to pitch the notion of accountability to our political caste?

Civic initiatives, public-initiative referendums, activism within parties and party leadership elections, practising more varied choice on your party spectrums? If the political caste is so deaf, maybe bottom-up democracy already doesn't work as well as Solveig imagines? (Or is there a Norway vs. Denmark/Sweden/Finland difference?) (And before the above is misread as a cynical dismissal, I note I'd wish we'd have referendums like in Switzerland all across the EU, but with participations above 60%.)

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Sun Oct 21st, 2007 at 06:17:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I agree.

As a partly related issue, I'd add that bringing up "transparency" is the grievance of those that care about what's going on, but are out of the decision process (or on the losing side of the decision process), that they are out of the process (or on the losing side).

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sun Oct 21st, 2007 at 11:20:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Civic initiatives,

Been there, done that. Still doing it, for that matter.

public-initiative referendums,

Not applicable under the Danish constitution.

activism within parties and party leadership elections,

Happening.

practising more varied choice on your party spectrums?

And give less priority to which policy area? Education? Health care? Unemployment benefits? Environmental policy? If you have a strong position on all of those, then party alignment is pretty much determined. In other words, Union policy would have to replace one or more of those subjects. Can't rightly see that happening.

If the political caste is so deaf, maybe bottom-up democracy already doesn't work as well as Solveig imagines? (Or is there a Norway vs. Denmark/Sweden/Finland difference?)

Correct on both counts. The major difference between the Union and Denmark is not in the degree to which our politicians care - it is the degree to which they are able to hide the fact that they don't. Which in and of itself is quite significant.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sun Oct 21st, 2007 at 05:27:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Do you think the smaller nations should join just to 'help' EU to become more democratic?  

I would say: make the EU more democratic first, and we  will reconsider...  

 

by Solveig (link2ageataol.com) on Sat Oct 20th, 2007 at 12:15:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It's not about size but level of progressiveness. You'd pull up the average and would be roadblocks in another direction than Poland and the UK are today.

I note I live in a smaller EU country, so does Luis de Sousa and Colman.

I would say: make the EU more democratic first, and we  will reconsider...

That's a comfortable position to take.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Sat Oct 20th, 2007 at 12:32:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
DoDo:
It's not about size but level of progressiveness. You'd pull up the average and would be roadblocks in another direction than Poland and the UK are today.

That would be very hard work, and with little hope of success, I think.  

DoDo:

That's a comfortable position to take.

It may sound like a comfortable position...but I am not advocating that we should withdraw from cross border co-operation or trying to influence policy wherever and whenever we have something to contribute. I believe we can do that better from outside the EU.  

by Solveig (link2ageataol.com) on Sat Oct 20th, 2007 at 01:03:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That's a comfortable position. It's also not a realistic one.

A more accurate question might be - do you want a neo-liberal monster on your doorstep?

Because without progressive influence, that's what the EU will turn into. And as it heads further and further in that direction, you'll have less and less influence - not more.

Whereas from inside influence might be limited, and you'd certainly have to fight tooth and nail for it, and be prepared to be a nuisance. But you'd have a say, as opposed to no say at all.

Do you really think the corporates and the rest of the neo-lib right is going to leave your national politics alone, just because you're nice people and don't want to get involved in the mess they're making elsewhere?

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Sat Oct 20th, 2007 at 07:54:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Hmmm...

Sounds as if you want to scare us into joining the EU.

We are not easily scared...we had the Germans in the country for 5 years, remember...

by Solveig (link2ageataol.com) on Sat Oct 20th, 2007 at 08:45:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"We're richer and braver and smarter than the rest of you. We don't need you."

Maybe that's not what you mean, but that's certainly what you sound like. (Or so says the - by axiom triply arrogant - French technocrat banker)

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sun Oct 21st, 2007 at 05:09:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I think I had a debate with Sirocco to that tune in the olden days.

Wait, it's here, also involved Gjermund E Jansen, and it must be admitted the two made some rather good points on their side.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Sun Oct 21st, 2007 at 05:55:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I used to hang out with Danes a lot in 1998-2000 and you got the same whiff of "we're better than the EU on everything and the EU will just lower our standards".

But the fact is, neither Norway nor Switzerland need the EU, nor does the EU need them. I don't see why as a matter of principle the EU should seek to include any given country. If they want to join and meet the acquis, they should be allowed in. If they don't want to join we shouldn't worry about it, and if they want to but don't meet the acquis it's their own problem to solve.

We have met the enemy, and it is us — Pogo

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Oct 21st, 2007 at 06:13:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Are we (Jérôme or me) the EU, or simple citizens?

As simple citizens, do you think we can have desires and opinions about various countries joining the Union based on principles rather than that countries' current public opinion? (And can we have an opinion on local public opinion?)

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Sun Oct 21st, 2007 at 06:20:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't know why you had to react defensively. Everyone can have an opinion, and I didn't say otherwise.

My opinion is that the EU should not have expansion to any definite borders as a goal, nor should it "set its final borders" (doublespeak for "keep Turkey out") —that's the kinds of principles I sometime find annoying: expansion is a practical matter, not a matter of principle—, and personally I have 1) given up on trying to convince Norway and Switzrland to join; 2) come to the conclusion that there is a value to having small countries like Norway and Switzerland which are in the orbit of the EU but more independent so they can try to do things differently.

We have met the enemy, and it is us — Pogo

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Oct 21st, 2007 at 06:41:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]

neither Norway nor Switzerland need the EU, nor does the EU need them.

I'm sure Norway and Switzerland will solve climate change all on their own too. And I'm also pretty sure that Switzerland would not be so happy if it was somehow made illegal for any EU citizen to hold any money in Switzerland...

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sun Oct 21st, 2007 at 11:24:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
EU membership is neither necessary nor sufficient to cooperate on tackling climate change. Regarding money laundering... what is the likelihood that the EU will agree to that, and wouldn't that be a problem already with the EEA free market rules? How do decisions get made on what applies to the EEA?

We have met the enemy, and it is us — Pogo
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Oct 21st, 2007 at 11:28:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
There seems to be a view that European countries must be either in the EU or condemned to outer darkness and (implicitly) a Third World and/or vassal status.

But Norway demonstrates that is its possible to have your cake and eat it, too

ie it's both/and not either/or and they are free to have a look at what the EU is proposing and then to adapt or adopt it according to taste.

Not that they reject much, and indeed they tend rather to adopt more rapidly, and more comprehensively than the funereal pace of most EU initiatives - which, with enlargement, can only get slower.

In terms of Jerome's point re climate change, the initiative IMHO can only come from energy producers acting collectively and putting to the EU and US alike an offer they cannot refuse.

I believe that Norway is uniquely well placed to lead that process if they could only summon up the self confidence to add to their innate (and currently rather tarnished) sense of moral superiority.

"The future is already here -- it's just not very evenly distributed" William Gibson

by ChrisCook (cojockathotmaildotcom) on Sun Oct 21st, 2007 at 12:03:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I believe that Norway is uniquely well placed to lead that process if they could only summon up the self confidence to add to their innate (and currently rather tarnished) sense of moral superiority.

I believe Jerome agrees...

We have met the enemy, and it is us — Pogo

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Oct 21st, 2007 at 12:12:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
There seems to be a view that European countries must be either in the EU or condemned to outer darkness and (implicitly) a Third World and/or vassal status.

The EU as "manifest destiny". Me not like.

We have met the enemy, and it is us — Pogo

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Oct 21st, 2007 at 12:15:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The EU is certainly more likely to get anything ever done on the climate change front - unless Norway suddenly decided to stop unsequestering all their carbon and leave it it the ground instead of digging it up.

My point was not about money laundering, but about sovereignty. Those countries that are so proud of their freedom and independence should not have any complaints about the EU taking decisions that would deprive them of their main livelihood and reveal them as utterly dependent on it.

It's easy to have a holier-than-thou attitude when you are the richer, smaller parasite of a larger organism.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sun Oct 21st, 2007 at 12:47:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Jerome a Paris:
I'm sure Norway and Switzerland will solve climate change all on their own too.

Norway works with, and within, numerous organisations (the EU included) on climate change and a multitude of other matters where international co-operation is necessary.

I'm not sure why you seem to think that it is not possible to be pro-active, progressive, innovative and co-operative outside the EU?

   

by Solveig (link2ageataol.com) on Sun Oct 21st, 2007 at 12:41:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
is the ultimate in selfishness. I'll cooperate when it's profitable for me, but not otherwise. Right. Because I value my "freedom".


In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sun Oct 21st, 2007 at 12:53:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Huh: who knew this?
A major challenge in 2003/2004 was to ensure that the EEA was enlarged at the same time as the EU, so as not to disturb the good functioning of the Internal Market. To this end, an EEA Enlargement Agreement was negotiated between the Community and its Member States, the EEA EFTA States and the Acceding Countries. The EEA Enlargement Agreement came into force on 1 May 2004, thus allowing for the simultaneous enlargement of the EU and the EEA. Most of the elements of the EEA Enlargement Agreement are technical adaptations, but one of the major substantial results of the enlargement negotiations was a ten-fold increase in the financial contribution of the EEA EFTA States, in particular Norway, to social and economic cohesion in the Internal Market (1167 M€ over five years, 600 M€ from all three EEA EFTA States and 567 M€ as a bilateral Norwegian contribution). Another element of the EEA Enlargement Agreement was that the Community would open additional quotas for certain marine and agricultural products from the EEA EFTA States.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Sun Oct 21st, 2007 at 01:32:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
that the economic benefits of membership (or any quasi-equivalent access), for small countries, far outweigh the costs, as acknowledged by these countries by their choices.

But of course, the EU is not about the economy.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sun Oct 21st, 2007 at 02:33:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It is certainly not about selfishness.  

Co-operation is by definition consensual, and cannot be imposed top-down.

Norway has had decades of coalition governments, so we know how necessary it is to find solutions that we can all accept - and live with.  

We approach international issues in international fora the same way, I believe -  and with respect for other nations' freedom.  

by Solveig (link2ageataol.com) on Sun Oct 21st, 2007 at 01:53:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You seem to be arguing on the premise that Norway has an obligation to join the EU. Is geography destiny? Has the EU claimed the whole of Europe on virtue of its name?

If not, you could just as well argue that France should apply for membership in the US. Because everything else is selfish.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Sun Oct 21st, 2007 at 06:12:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
to the line of argument which says "we're better than you at everything, why should we join you stupid shmucks"

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Mon Oct 22nd, 2007 at 05:38:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I certainly didn't detect that line of argument.

The Norwegians are free to choose EU policies they approve of and adopt them while the EU is still grinding its way through the process.

Why then should they have to adopt EU policies they don't like?

Maybe people who do that ARE schmucks.....

"The future is already here -- it's just not very evenly distributed" William Gibson

by ChrisCook (cojockathotmaildotcom) on Mon Oct 22nd, 2007 at 06:43:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]

The Norwegians are free to choose EU policies they approve of and adopt them while the EU is still grinding its way through the process.

That's the perfect definition of selfishness: let's pick those policies of the group that are advantageous to us while sitting out those that would have a cost, or be inconvenient for us. Solidarity is not a one way street.

"Oh but we're rich, so we would pay all the time". "Oh but we're doing things a lot better, why should we lower ourselves to the paltry EU standards". Back again to our starting point.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Tue Oct 23rd, 2007 at 01:56:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
...it is not about 'we are rich, we don't need you' - being rich has nothing to do with this.

When Norway first voted 'no' to the EU, we were certainly not rich, so that argument does not hold. There are fundamental issues behind Norway's choice to stay outside the EU, not least her principles and values.    

It seems you have not taken in/listened to (or not understood?) much of what I have tried to explain - but you appear to construe dissent as an 'attack', and therefore you "counter-attack".

I have gained much detailed knowledge about the EU from ET discussions, and I feel I understand more. I find it strange that you do not seem to be interested in understanding the 'other side'.        

The main problem I have with today's EU is the power-bloc mentality. I dread all talk about a common EU foreign policy and army. And, as for the need for the EU to exist to "compete" globally - what's wrong with global cooperation, and why is the EU essential for that?

The EU "leaders" are not people I would trust...and from what you write, I get the impression that you don't trust them either.  The difference is maybe that you believe a future EU leadership is capable of  becoming 'trustworthy' and 'egalitarian'  - I see no chance of that. "Power corrupts"...and all that.  You may call that being cynical, I call it being realistic.  

by Solveig (link2ageataol.com) on Tue Oct 23rd, 2007 at 07:41:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]

There are fundamental issues behind Norway's choice to stay outside the EU, not least her principles and values.    

The EU is not incompatible with countries' values and principles. On most issues, it sets minimum pan-European standards, but never prevents countries from going further.

And you certainly have more influence from the inside than from the outside if you want these values to be protected


The main problem I have with today's EU is the power-bloc mentality. I dread all talk about a common EU foreign policy and army.

And I would say that the main problem is the lack of a power-bloc mentality. All talk of building up the political legitimacy of the EU (the only way that values will ever be promoted, as opposed to narrow economic interests) is being killed off by eurosceptics, whose (bad faith, or completely opposed to the values you think you want to defend) arguments you seem to believe fully.


as for the need for the EU to exist to "compete" globally - what's wrong with global cooperation, and why is the EU essential for that?

The EU is the only global entity able to set standards of behavior (technical standards, social standards, as well as, for countries that might become members, democratic/political standards) that do not go to the lowest common denominator. That comes from its economic clout and its willingness to use that economic power in a united way. Norway, or France, or Germany, would never have been able to impose standards like those embedded in REACH (the chemicals products directive).

So yes, the EU is essential for global cooperation, as the main entity able to enforce some discipline and willing to show a good example on many topics.


The difference is maybe that you believe a future EU leadership is capable of  becoming 'trustworthy' and 'egalitarian'  - I see no chance of that.

The only way to get a better leadership is to make it more accountable.? and the only way to do that is, oddly enough, to give more political power to Brussels, so that the political debate - and the checks and balances - happens in the right place. A weakened, discredited (by national leaders) EU machinery is worse than a powerful one under the spotlight. But it needs to be powerful to be in the spotlight.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Tue Oct 23rd, 2007 at 12:42:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Jerome a Paris:
"We're richer and braver and smarter than the rest of you. We don't need you."

That is not what I meant, Jerome. I was thinking of our 'stubborness', or you could call it resilience...

We have fought hard and long for our independence - 400 years under Denmark, 100 years with Sweden, and the German occupation which is still within living memory.  Giving up this independence is not something we would do lightly.

Frankly, the majority of Norwegians see the present EU as a 'power' that would adversely affect our egalitarian values, and way of life.  Maybe we believe that by staying outside, but still participating earnestly (which we do! We sometimes introduce EU policy before the EU does...), we may have some small positive influence.

As for being rich, yes we are now, but at the time of the first referendum in 1972, we were not. (After WW2 we were the poorest country in Europe - it took Marshall help and a few decades hard work and innovative policies to get our economy moving.)

Arrogance, yes we may have a touch of that...but so do many other European countries...the French included, as you admit.  

Norwegian arrogance, as I see it, is about 'look at us, we have managed to share our country's wealth fairly evenly, what have you done'?          

       

by Solveig (link2ageataol.com) on Sun Oct 21st, 2007 at 06:47:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
...and oil.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se
by A swedish kind of death on Sun Oct 21st, 2007 at 06:13:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
ThatBritGuy:
Because without progressive influence, that's what the EU will turn into. And as it heads further and further in that direction, you'll have less and less influence - not more.

Now I believe that the day of the Neo Libs is done as will be evidenced when the whole unsustainable horse's breakfast of a financial system collapses around their heads in the next 12 months.

Whether or not I'm right I'm not at all clear as to exactly who you mean by "progressive influence". It's not immediately obvious, but presumably that's a convenient label for Scandinavians?

Be that as it may, there are clear signs in Norway of a growing backlash against corporate excess (even of the lily livered Norwegian variety - and the whole Neo Lib approach - which has never sat well with Scandinavian values generally and the Norwegian variant in particular.

Sitting on a great deal of oil (still plenty left!) and oodles of gas, and with 2 trillion NOK in the kitty (not that much of it in $ assets/liabilities these days) Norway is extremely well placed to put two fingers up to Pol Pot were he to reappear and be appointed President of the United States of Europe.

"The future is already here -- it's just not very evenly distributed" William Gibson

by ChrisCook (cojockathotmaildotcom) on Sat Oct 20th, 2007 at 09:19:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
a country with that many resources/cash in hand looks like an ideal next member of the axis of evil ;-)

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Sat Oct 20th, 2007 at 09:25:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That would be very hard work, and with little hope of success, I think.

Pulling up the average would be zero work, being a progressive mirror image to the Polish roadblock would not be much work. I think what you were thinking of is pulling up all the rest of the EU to Norway's level. I could refer to Jérôme's reaction there, but say instead that that may happen with time, by a time Norway and some others pull themselves further up.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Sun Oct 21st, 2007 at 06:01:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Exactly!

And we've all seen what good results come from treaties designed and implemented by white men in suit carrying briefcases.

by Mnemosyne on Sat Oct 20th, 2007 at 09:49:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The front row is Sarkozy, the Portuguese PM, and one of the Polish twins (presumably the PM)
Second row is the Danish PM and then, no idea...

There must be at least one woman in the lot: Angela Merkel, and maybe a couple others, but my mind goes blank too on who.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sat Oct 20th, 2007 at 04:40:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
and then, no idea...

Me & Colman are nonplussed!

;-)

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Sat Oct 20th, 2007 at 04:47:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I recognise all but one whose face can be seen in full:

Bottom row, from left to right:

  • Sarko
  • José Sócrates, PM of Portugal (not too bold Socialist)
  • Lech Kaczyński, President of Poland (idiot hard-right nationalist)

Middle row, from left to right:
  • Anders Fogh Rasmussen, PM of Denmark (mad neoliberal)
  • Ferenc Gyurcsány, PM of Hungary (neoliberal in a Socialist Party)
  • Bertie Ahern, PM of Ireland (crooked right-wing)

Third row:
* on the right: Matti Vanhanen, PM of Finland (centre-right)

I have seen that bearded face behind Gyurcsány and Ahern, too, but can't remember who he is.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Sat Oct 20th, 2007 at 04:46:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
here are the official family photos. I probably mis-identified the Finnish PM, that guy and the bearded one could be Commissioners.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sat Oct 20th, 2007 at 04:59:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yep, the man with glasses must be Olli Rehn, Commissioner for Enlargement (also from Finland). But the bearded man is Luís Amado, foreign minister of Portugal. Here is another gallery at the Portuguese EU Presidency site with captions for the photos.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sat Oct 20th, 2007 at 05:12:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Commissioner for Enlargement? Is he the one that keeps sending all that email spam about miraculous penis growth products?
by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Sat Oct 20th, 2007 at 05:37:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
LOLOL!!! Today you are really making my day In Wales!!! This would be another 10!
by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Oct 20th, 2007 at 05:39:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
at the height of enlargement emails, I took one email account, and added up the increase that I'd been guaranteed. if I had responded to them and the guarantees had been correct, by the end of the year my penis would have been 53 feet and seven inches long and eight and a half feet round. I was going to turn it into a website, but was advised that Hormels would take rather a dim vue of the name I had chosen for it. it was going to be called spamcock. somewhere I have all the artwork and everything.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Sat Oct 20th, 2007 at 05:56:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You clearly had too much spare time...
by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Sat Oct 20th, 2007 at 06:00:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
and am easily distracted and obsessed with stupid things.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Sat Oct 20th, 2007 at 07:02:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
As I tried to learn new faces and evaluate the general appearance of Zapatero, I found Csarko had the most pictures with the index finger pointing as he speaks, while even Brown uses a full open hand.

What do Csarko's three closed fingers hide?

Our knowledge has surpassed our wisdom. -Charu Saxena.

by metavision on Sat Oct 20th, 2007 at 08:41:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Newropeans Press Release: EU leaders slip Union into ever deeper crisis (20/10/2007)
The European Summit on Friday, October 19, 2007 agreed a so-called Reform Treaty which was widely celebrated as a way out of the crisis the EU had slipped into upon the French and Dutch No-votes on the Constitutional Treaty.

"Those who say this refuse to tackle the real challenges the EU is facing, those who believe it are naive", says Newropeans founding-President Franck Biancheri.

Newropeans is convinced that the ongoing developments will deepen the rift between the citizens and the elites currently governing Europe. The recent agreement will only superfluously cover up the deep crisis the EU is in.

Here are our reasons why:

  • The leaders have proven incapable to find a political answer to the No-votes which would help to solve the underlying problems of acceptancy.
  • They have agreed on a slimmed, but more opaque version of the rejected Constitutional Treaty, which in no way is apt to answer citizens concerns and expectations about the EU, but contains essentially the same content as before.
  • This Treaty, which only contains a small minimum of reforms necessary to enable the EU to meet its internal and global challenges in the ten years to come, is still running the risk of being rejected in national ratifications. This will demonstrate the helplessness of the national elites which has been building up for more than a decade.
  • Instead of involving the citizens in the process, the EU member governments have chosen to do anything possible to avoid a further "confrontation" with the citizens over Europe. The guiding princinple in the negotiations was: "How can we avoid a referendum?"
  • Meanwhile, there is an overwhelming demand by citizens to have a say in the European Union. Just one example: 70 percent of the citizens recently polled in the five biggest member countries (Germany, France, the UK, Spain, Italy) want to have their say in the referendum on the EU's new Treaty (FT/Harris Poll of 18 Otober 2007). This request to have their say which has reached a historical high is a clear signal: they are fed up being governed by unaccountable elites in processes which increasingly loose legitimation.
  • The way the national elites are dealing with the EU and the European citizens will strengthen anti-EU movements and populist forces both in the member states and on the EU level.


We have met the enemy, and it is us — Pogo
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Oct 22nd, 2007 at 10:20:37 AM EST


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