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BBC NEWS | World | Europe | EU 'does not need constitution'
The British and Dutch prime ministers have said the European Union does not need a "whole new constitution", just limited changes to existing treaties.

Tony Blair and Jan Peter Balkenende said the focus should be on changes that made the EU work better.

The Netherlands followed France in voting against a draft constitution in 2005, plunging the EU into crisis.

Mr Blair promised to hold a referendum in the UK, but officials say no vote is needed for a simple "amending" treaty.

Superstate

"I think people can identify very clearly the things that give rise to a European super-state that we do not want... and those things which are necessary to make Europe work more effectively," Mr Blair said, after talks in London.

by Fran on Tue Apr 17th, 2007 at 12:11:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Maybe it's just me and my being completely out of things, but I really have not heard the necessary debate about this. (I know that there has been some discussion of it here.)

It appears that this has become a substitute debate for further integration. Maybe tinkering with the treaties is all that's needed. Maybe a new mega-treaty is needed. Maybe it doesn't have to be called a "constitution" and could just be called a treaty. Maybe a constitution is needed.

The biggest problem is the convoluted decision process, right? Couldn't we start from that point and move on?

by gradinski chai on Tue Apr 17th, 2007 at 02:26:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Two alarming things: one, that Bliar now incorporated the "Superstate" rhetoric into his own, another step down the appeaser's slippery slope. The other: Bliar is only backing a proposal by Balkenende. (If Sarko is elected, Bliar will truly achieve the goal of getting Britain at the heart of Europe, at the cold dead heart...)

On the other hand, I don't see a significant difference between Merkel's 'lean constitution' and Balkenende's treaty, this seems really a 'debate' about how to sell it to the public (to the differing publics).

Depending on what's included in the treaty, I'd swallow it, even if I don't like it. I'd rather have those referendums. Maybe with Ségo, if she (and her advisers) have the sense to seek the cooperation of Zapatero, Prodi and at least half a dozen of the smaller states; after that, maybe Merkel could be brought on-board.

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

by DoDo on Tue Apr 17th, 2007 at 04:00:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
This is purely the UK trying to preempt the debate, because London is scared to death of a new Constitution.

But to their terror, it just won't die - but that simply reflects that the French and the Germans will not let the topic drop - because it's needed and desired - to make Europe progress as a political project, and the UK does not drive that agenda.

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

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Tue Apr 17th, 2007 at 04:09:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, it's certainly true that Bliar is a dead PM walking and nothing he says now makes the slightest bit of difference to UK policy 6 months from now.

That said, Brown has disinterest bordering upon contempt for Europe. As far as he's concerned, until they unconditionally accept the anglo-american economic model and start re-organising on Straussian/Rand principles he's not even going to talk to them. See how eager he was to lick GWB's boots recently, yet where has he been on Europe ?

Thatcher will be seen as a paragon of euro-enthusiasm compared to Brown. With Brown as PM the fog in the channel will be thick, dank and impenetrable.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Tue Apr 17th, 2007 at 04:24:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
With Brown as PM the fog in the channel will be thick, dank and impenetrable.

There's always the chunnel.

"It's the statue, man, The Statue."

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Apr 17th, 2007 at 10:00:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yup, my route of last resort out of here. Although I'll probably catch a ferry like a civilised person (cos it's much, much cheaper)

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Tue Apr 17th, 2007 at 01:04:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
This is purely the UK trying to preempt the debate

Read again. This is the Netherlands bringing up a proposal, with Bliar giving backing.

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

by DoDo on Tue Apr 17th, 2007 at 04:27:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It's always about finding someone else to front their positions to make them look not isolated and make this look as two big groups fighting it out and not 1 (the UK) against everybody else.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Tue Apr 17th, 2007 at 04:43:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
For you, it's always only about Britain. Even assuming you are right above, won't you ask yourself how he could find a fellow head of government willing to function as a front?

Sorry but I can't agree with you that this is one against everyone else. Sadly, it isn't.

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

by DoDo on Tue Apr 17th, 2007 at 05:00:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
To give you some background: Balkenende began his half-Eurosceptic thrust for not-constitution-but-treaty on the EU's 50th anniversary, on 22 March. He spoke about the standard fare of senseless regulation and sovereignity, and I now find that he also used the word 'superstate'. After this, representatives of the EPP (among them, vice-President Viktor Orbán of the Hungarian Fidesz) also made declarations to the tune that as much as can be should be saved of the Constitution into something better called a treaty.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Apr 17th, 2007 at 05:24:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Oh, this is just in: today Merkel meets openly Eurosceptic Czech President Klaus to talk about the Constitution.

I should also note that both Sarko's and Ségo's views on the Constitution are seen sceptically by the German media and political establishment.

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

by DoDo on Tue Apr 17th, 2007 at 05:31:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
If we're going yo have a "Constitution" it should be written by a European Parliament elected on that premise. Since that is not going to happen, I'm happy with "putting as much as can be saved into a new treaty".

What is the debate really about? Nobody is actually debating what it is that can be saved.

"It's the statue, man, The Statue."

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Apr 17th, 2007 at 10:03:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
What is the debate really about? Nobody is actually debating what it is that can be saved.

Spot on. Or, more correctly, the politicos are debating it in backrooms, and we the public can only talk hot air. Merkel was blasted for this in the EP not only by the Eurosceptic loons, but the Greens (Dany) too.

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

by DoDo on Tue Apr 17th, 2007 at 04:34:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The only part of the politicos' discussion that leaks out is the (very embarrassing) part where they try to figure out a way to shove the result down our collective throats with the smallest number of referenda possible.

"It's the statue, man, The Statue."
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Apr 17th, 2007 at 05:37:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It is for one thing: France and Germany disagree on many things, but they WILL TRY to find a compromise because they think that finding a compromise is, in the end, more important for Europe.

The UK is not in the business of finding compromises that will make Europe progress. That's why they are so often alone (or close to) in the EU, and it reflects their fundamental lack of belief in the EU as a political project. That there are other euroskeptical politicians in europe is nothing new, even in the core countries, and that they are cultivated by London is also nothing new.

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

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Tue Apr 17th, 2007 at 05:41:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
With Sarko, I'm not sure they will try to find a compromise. Merkel also tries to find a compromise with others than France. If other euroskeptical politicians in Europe, even in the core countries, is nothing new, why do you write about one against everyone other?

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Apr 17th, 2007 at 05:59:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
He'll need a "Nice" experience to learn. But he will, eventually.

(Yeah, I'm optimistic - but then I don't see him becoming president)

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

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Tue Apr 17th, 2007 at 07:49:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
As Sarko is on-board with the assorted Eurosceptics and cowardy appeasers() in advocating a treaty-not-constitution, I fear we could observe an entirely different Nice experience.

() Back to the root of this thread: Balkenende is (was?) not an Eurosceptic like his Czech (and Polish) colleague, not even a full neoliberal like his Danish colleague (though an Atlanticist). The Dutch No was damaging him. This is why his initiative is so shattering: he is appeasing domestic and inner-party public opinion, not believing he can win the argument in a second referendum, and thus went Bliar's way much faster (in two years rather than ten). Though, given his populism on immigration, this behaviour isn't exactly a surprise.

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

by DoDo on Tue Apr 17th, 2007 at 04:43:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
By the way, do you see any significant difference between the Dutch proposal and Sarko's views on the future of the Constitution?

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Apr 17th, 2007 at 06:29:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]

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