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The rest was just a restating of the past treaties, something which is impossible to avoid given the initial inter-governmental structure of the EU.

To get rid of the intergovernment al structure, you need to follow the inter-governmental rules. By law. There is NO WAY around it. That it is a cumbersome process, and that the "elites" took all the possible pains to follw the route and make it acceptable to most as obviously not enough.

Nothing will ever happen now, which is exactly what the anti-EU had in mind. That the euroskeptics push for that to happen is understandable. That avowedly pro-Europeans support that state of fact with glee is pathetically painful to watch.

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

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Mon Dec 29th, 2008 at 06:03:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
12 pages, but still unreadable. Kept from the public for as long as possible. With strong pressure on all states to avoid a referendum.

You can say that the result matters more. But it wasn't a pretty process.

by nanne (zwaerdenmaecker@gmail.com) on Mon Dec 29th, 2008 at 06:09:38 PM EST
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The discussions of the convention were public and widely discussed, and could easily be followed in all loving detail if you cared to.

The relevant bit is "if you cared to." It did not play on TV other than very occasionally, because, rightly or wrongly, TV executives did not think it a worthwhile way to garner audiences.

So who's to blame?

I'll also note -again- that the very people that are crowing about the EU's lcack of accountability or democracy are the very same that are adamantly opposed to EU-wide votes or anything that would smack of federalisation or additional political legitimacy for any EU institution.

Why the avowedly pro-EU people find it smart to support people whose sole goal is to destroy the EU as a political project I will never get. Sure, neolibs can use the EU to push their advantage. But the EU can also push back (and indeed, I'd argue that, as the most important rule-making body in the world, it is the single strongest force against neolibs). The neolibs don't need the EU to push their wares. But they do fear it having political legitimacy.

Voting no kills the political legitimacy; it does not weaken the neolibs in the slightest.

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

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Tue Dec 30th, 2008 at 05:15:43 PM EST
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Jerome a Paris:
Why the avowedly pro-EU people find it smart to support people whose sole goal is to destroy the EU as a political project I will never get.

I think you are getting very close to the central point this diary was trying to make: my frustration that avowedly progressive pro-Europeans were prepared either to do nothing or actually to make common cause with the most reactionary forces in Europe in a bid to destroy the political legitimacy of the EU still further - as a NO vote undoubtedly would.

I think the fundamental reason for this paradox is that we (on the Yes side) see the EU (for all its faults) as the best chance we have of reining in some of the worst excesses of the neo-lib project.

Those progressives on the NO side, on the other hand, see the EU as almost indistinguishable from the neo-lib project, and thus think they help to destroy the neolib project by further undermining the EU.  

(The concept of globalisation is sufficient fuzzy not to distinguish between global corporations and their political servants and global/regional political organisations like the EU)

The fallacy of this progressive position - in my view - is that they think they can replace the current EU with something better, whereas the people they are aligning with actual want to destroy as much of the EU as they can and replace it with unalloyed political nationalism allied to global capital.

Its the old divide and conquer routine.  Nothing scares global capital more than the prospect of more effective global political regulation.

My problem is:  If I cannot convince politically astute pro-European  progressives of this, what chance have I with popular sentiment in Ireland which is:

  1. not as politically astute
  2. has no great knowledge of the workings of the EU
  3. Has no particular ideological orientation other than that we need jobs, investment etc, which allegedly global capital will provide
  4. Is naturally inclined to be nationalistic and chauvinistic on the grounds that it favours more local control and feels more comfortable with a Government in Dublin which it can kick out of office rather than a more remote Commission in Brussels.

In this emotional context, the arguable fact the EU institutions have been more effective in securing peoples interests vis a vis global capital is almost irrelevant.  You are asking people to vote for an abstraction in Brussels rather than a more concrete reality closer to home.

It's going tobe a very tough sell...

notes from no w here

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Dec 30th, 2008 at 05:44:27 PM EST
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Maybe we're talking past each other, I meant Lisbon, not the Constitutional Treaty (Convention, and so on).
by nanne (zwaerdenmaecker@gmail.com) on Tue Dec 30th, 2008 at 06:12:46 PM EST
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Yes, but many of the criticisms made of Lisbon (complexity, cobbled together by a cabal of unelected insiders meeting in secret) do not apply to the constitution.  The French/Dutch governments failed to convince their electorates that the constitution would make the EU more democratic and responsive to popular concerns.  So the EU Governments adopted a less democratic and less obviously responsive approach to fix the problem.

Not a very clever move.

notes from no w here

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Dec 30th, 2008 at 06:31:57 PM EST
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The Dutch government was certainly useless. Wrote about it at the time.

Whether what the Council did was clever, I don't know. They've passed Lisbon in more countries than the Constitution, so we'll see next fall.

by nanne (zwaerdenmaecker@gmail.com) on Tue Dec 30th, 2008 at 06:44:26 PM EST
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The question is whether Lisbon will be worth the ultimate price to be paid in terms of the difficulty of passing any future Treaty.  The EU will have to be able to demonstrate that Lisbon helped them do better before they can dare go back to the well again for a further Treaty

notes from no w here
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Dec 30th, 2008 at 06:50:41 PM EST
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