Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
I thought about whether I should address the smalller issues, on second thought I should.

  • The EU is not a true federal system, and some (the Brits) oppose a development in that direction very much. It is now a confederation.

  • The CAP is negotiated between 25 countries. The result of the last negotiations was a transition until 2013, which isn't obviously bad compromise as the article notes it (and I can reinforce what it writes from here from Hungary). I note the long transition is probably good for avoiding shocks both for West European farmers and the netto contributors to the EU budget.

  • Votes Part I: The equal votes of Germany with France, Britain and Italy was the price then Chanchellor Kohl paid to allay the fears of then British PM Thatcher and (less so) then French President Mitterand of a dominant Germany after re-unification. The new system of the Nice agreement abadoned that, tough, Chirac fought hard to keep the Germany-next three ratio lower than the population ratio. That was when Spain and Poland also demanded over-representation, and got it.

  • Votes Part II: The workings of the EU are such that progress comes when it seems least likely, with the country(/ies) who tried to get too much and stalled progress thereby before forced to give in. In that fashion, having been roundly criticised for Nice, in 2003 Chirac gave in in the planning of the next system: the one included in the now stalled Constitution. However, this time it was US allies Spain and Poland that tried everything to maintain their privileges under Nice. However, they stood alone in the end: half a year later, Aznar of Spain was gone, and Poland accepted complete defeat.

  • France is not economically inefficient relative to Britain and Germany. Airbus, Renault, PSA, Loreal et al are fine. This inefficiency meme is only a popular spin in the Anglo-Saxon press. While, in fact, Britain sports a large trade deficit and under Bliar started the same savings-crunching, credit-dependent spending as the USA.

  • In the eighties, Maggie Thatcher, probably intending to blow up the EU, fought a hard fight to have a special British rebate, so that Britain won't be a netto payer. As usual in the EU, politicos opted for preventing disaster, that is they gave her what she wanted.

  • The current EU summit on the EU budget failed not because of CAP but because Britain vetoed every compromise proposal to even freeze the British rebate. Bliar demanded a complete re-drawing of the entire budget, blaming the French and CAP, forgetting that the  CAP itself was freezed in the previous compromise the above Le Monde article also mentions.

  • Hence, expect Britain to be next being forced into a compromise.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sun Jun 26th, 2005 at 09:30:48 AM EST
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