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'Non' to the Constitution - 1 year later

by Jerome a Paris Mon May 29th, 2006 at 04:50:09 AM EST

Despite arguments by some on this site that the French "Non" to the EU Constitution brought in a welcome period of paralysis at a time when neo-liberal ideas dominate in Brussels, I continue to think that this vote was an unmitigated disaster:

  • whatever the "non" voters say, the idea of Europe as a political project has suffered a terrible blow. The "non" is seen as a vote against Europe, and, coming from 2 core countries, legitimises anti-European speech everywhere; the very dream of Europe has been ridiculed for a number of years.

  • We are left exactly with what the "non" voters feared, i.e. an opaque technocratic body focused on free-trade and markets and little else. Democratic institutions like the European Parliament will not get the boost they were due. In the absence of political momentum, technocratic deregulation influenced by lobbies is all we'll get - and they are hard at work. Europe has a lot of regulatory power and it is still being used as it needs little political capital, and it is not being used to further a social, democratic Europe..

  • the neo-liberals and eurosceptics are pushing their advantage. They are claiming the mantle of the good "pro-Europeans", focusing on their purely economic "reform" agenda. The fact that they are crowing should make it clear who lost with the death of the Constitution.

  • the "non" forces have no project, no counter proposal, and no power. But they are fully responsible for the rise of nationalist politics in various places, and the zero-sum game logic (which the "non" side is of course losing) now overwhelming European discussions.

Chirac is still there. France is treated (quite deservedly) like a sick joke. Europe is withering away.

Well done, guys.


Display:
Ah, I wish the points you've made, Jerome, were not true. As one who is embracing the idea of united Europe, I also think that the "non" vote a year ago was a very bad signal.

I can resist anything but temptation.- Oscar Wilde
by Little L (ljolito (at) gmail (dot) com) on Mon May 29th, 2006 at 04:56:58 AM EST
they are crowing, they really are. See in today's FT:


How globalisation is shifting France's political faultline

The French right, which has always been exotically odd by European standards, is becoming more conventional. On the other hand, the French left, which for so long defined the European socialist mainstream, is now veering towards national exceptionalism.

(...)

Will French voters endorse the promise of market reform and the opportunities thrown up by globalisation or will they defend the singularity of the French social model, with its reliance on a strong public sector and an extensive welfare state?

(...)

According to Zaki Laïdi, the founder of Telos who conducted the study, the centre of gravity in the UMP party has shifted markedly towards the "liberal" right under the leadership of Mr Sarkozy, while that of the Socialist party has veered towards the "anti-liberal" left following the rejection of Europe's constitutional treaty in a national referendum exactly a year ago today.

(...)

"The conversion of the French right to `neo-liberal' ideas is something fundamental. It is now entering the mainstream of the European right," says Mr Laïdi. "The traditional Gaullist part of the UMP, which was more statist and nationalist, is now marginal. The left is much more anti-liberal than it was five years ago."

For years, the traditional right has interwoven several distinct strands: Gaullism, Christian Democracy, nationalism and economic liberalism - even if liberalism has been the political philosophy in France that dares not speak its name.

(...)

Mr Sarkozy, currently the best-placed candidate from the right to succeed Mr Chirac, is far less apologetic about his rightwing credentials. In speeches to UMP party members, Mr Sarkozy says that the French right should no longer be ashamed to trumpet its capitalist values of hard work, risk-taking and financial reward. France must act to tackle its own internal shortcomings - such as high unemployment, social exclusion and wasteful state spending - rather than attributing all its ills to external causes.

(...)

"France is a society that is ill at ease with itself, uncomfortable in its skin and unhappy about globalisation, which it makes the scapegoat for all its problems and difficulties. We are in a state of collective depression and need a cure," Mr Marseille says.

He suggests that Mr Sarkozy could reinvigorate France by reducing state spending, liberalising markets and freeing up the creative energies of the people. But Mr Marseille reckons that financial necessity would eventually compel any Socialist president to follow exactly the same policies, betraying the anti-liberal platform on which they had been elected, just as President François Mitterrand did in his day.

So the French right is now unashamedly neo-liberal, and the left will do the same, should it comes to power, despite moving ideologically in the other direction. History on the march...

Of course this is heavily slanted, but in the meanwhile, the neo-liberal ideas have a free rein, and what is being discredited is the actual historical position of the left i.e. social democracy.

The non vote allows the neo-liberal right to claim that they are the only "good Europeans", and the alternative is between their policies ("reform") and hardline leftism. And there is no one audible to argue agaisnt them.

For that alone, a result that I predicted at the time, the non voters have all my scorn.


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

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Mon May 29th, 2006 at 05:21:25 AM EST
This analysis of course ignores the fact that almost half of the "non" votes came from the sovereignist/hard right (25% of the 55% of non votes), and a good third of the "oui" votes came from the left (15% out of 45%) despite the context of an horrible, horrible rightwing president in power and having put all his remaining credibility at stake.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Mon May 29th, 2006 at 06:17:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
This perhaps highlights why France has been the bogeyman of the English language (neo-liberal consensus dominated) press. Etatism... The theory of a strong state is of course what the neo-libs really hate. And that is of course the historical governing ethos of France on both left and right.

The corporate machine is busy reducing alternative centres of power to rubble. If the French right has fallen, then the battle is, one surmises, already lost.

It only takes the right to the anti-state rhetoric and then even leftists governments are usually only able to fight a rear-guard action against the "tax cut" equation.

Humans are stupid and economics in it's current discipline can be seen to be the autistic rationalisation of this stupidity. All the good that the state (and civil society) does will be thrown away because it cannot be measured. Tax cuts on the other hand, is money in your pocket!

It's almost amusing in a structural sense. The strong identity of the French elite (ENA etc.) has helped preserve etatism despite the winds blowing around it recently. But the danger is that once they (the elite) flip they will do so en masse, leaving neo-lib the new consensus, preserved depite the winds blowing around it.

by Metatone (metatone [a|t] gmail (dot) com) on Mon May 29th, 2006 at 07:13:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Exactly.
The strategy of Fabius et al was just self indulgent pouting.  They never thought it through.  and now we are faced with Sego blair or Sarko.
Great for headline writers bad for French and intelligent debate in general.
Chirac has plotted such a poor course that we will be paying for his indecision and posturing for years to come.

"Whenever a separation is made between liberty and justice, neither, in my opinion, is safe." Edmund Burke
by Boru on Mon May 29th, 2006 at 05:50:36 AM EST
Welcome on board, Boru!

I agree with your comment on the self-indulgent pouting, but I would not be so harsh about Ségo (at least not in terms of her supposed "Blairism". The much quoted interview where she said nice things about Blair is always misstated - she siad that she liked how he had increased spending for health and education (and was running social democratic policies despite his neo-liberal discourse), hardly a ringing endorsement of the neo-liberal discourse even if of course it has naturally been interpreted as such.

As to Chirac, yes indeed. What a waste.

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

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Mon May 29th, 2006 at 06:20:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yeah true.  I was also drawing the comparison between the fact that she seems to lack a true ideology, maybe.  But most of all i think that a lot of us had never heard of her and then suddenly she was there like she had always been there.  The media in this country is very strange.  They do some incredible work on foreign news coverage, but when they look around France they see mostly just the roses.
France always reminds me of the States in this.  The journalists have a fawning respect for the president and other politicians, at least until they near the end of their reign.

"Whenever a separation is made between liberty and justice, neither, in my opinion, is safe." Edmund Burke
by Boru on Mon May 29th, 2006 at 07:15:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I knew/know very little about the issues involved, but I had gotten the impression (please correct me if I'm wrong) that Blair had (knowingly?) managed to insert a number of clauses during negotiation stage that were like a poison pill to the French, and the effect was a lose-lose choice, rather well outlined (IMHO) by Jerome.

I'm note entirely unconvinced this was not the result Blair wanted.

Still, there is a part of me that believes France will muddle through somehow; I can't imagine it going overbard into loonyland like the US.

by Lupin on Mon May 29th, 2006 at 06:26:50 AM EST
There was nothing too awful about the treaty that I could see. It could have been much better but the EU has always proceeded by small steps rather than huge revolutions. You agree what improvements you can and revisit the issues a while later.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Mon May 29th, 2006 at 12:48:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
the EU has always proceeded by small steps rather than huge revolutions.

That one I agree upon. And it comes while everyone is fighting everyone.



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

by DoDo on Tue May 30th, 2006 at 08:56:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
If this would be an FT article, I could say:

whatever the "non" voters say

Always a good way to start a debate... </snark>

The "non" is seen as a vote against Europe

Seen by who?

the idea of Europe as a political project has suffered a terrible blow

Alarmist language not unlike "Europe's last chance to keep up in the globalised world". The Constitution would have offered only rather limited advances over the status quo in the political project field.

legitimises anti-European speech everywhere

Was anti-European speech ever illegal? Are claims that France is the black sheep and 'reforms' stumbling bock of the EU anti-European speech?

the very dream of Europe has been ridiculed for a number of years.

Has been and will be by the usual suspects, taking whatever opportunity - and there would have been plenty of opportunities with an "Oui", too.

We are left exactly with what the "non" voters feared, i.e. an opaque technocratic body focused on free-trade and markets and little else.

This is a clever mis-representation, as many "Non"-voters, that was the as-is view, and they'd expect the cementing of same with the Constitution. That same technocratic body would have kept power with the "yes" vote, too, as less vetoes and more majority votes would have balanced the growing EP power even if reformists wouldn't have a majority in the EP too.

In the absence of political momentum, technocratic deregulation influenced by lobbies is all we'll get

The above

  1. assumes that there was a political momentum before the "Non" vote,
  2. implies with this superposition that somehow a political momentum would have mitigated lobby-influenced dereg,
  3. ignores that most lobbies were actually pro-Constitution.

Europe has a lot of regulatory power and it is still being used as it needs little political capital, and it is not being used to further a social, democratic Europe..

Which, again, it does quite independently of the Constitution.

the neo-liberals and eurosceptics are pushing their advantage. They are claiming the mantle of the good "pro-Europeans"

Above eurosceptics and neoliberal pro-Europeans are mixed together to declare the latter a non-entity, which serves to ignore that they have been pushing their agenda just as hard - and from a position of the majority - before the "Non" vote already, and would have done so with an "Oui" even stronger.

The fact that they are crowing should make it clear who lost with the death of the Constitution.

We are again suggested a simple win/lose situation. And a zero-sum game.

the "non" forces have no project, no counter proposal, and no power.

Argument by declaration, but I'd leave this to a "Non" voter to deconstruct.

they are fully responsible for the rise of nationalist politics in various places

With a slew of hand, a wider and older phenomenon is fully blamed on the opponents on an issue, without a single argument even supporting partial responsibility. And, of course, it is suggested that if some people agree with someone for the wrong reasons, that persons' reasons are invalid too. (Understandable emotionally given "Non"-camp accusations of pro-Constitution leftists pushing the cart of the neoliberal pro-Europeans, though.)

the zero-sum game logic (which the "non" side is of course losing) now overwhelming European discussions.

This accusation is especially spectacular after all the preceding was a lot of zero-sum game discussion.

Chirac is still there.

With eliminated rather than rebounding popularity, and Royal topping the polls.

France is treated (quite deservedly) like a sick joke.

Which it would have been anyway by the "reformists" whatever it tried to hold up the "reform" push with - be it over farm subsidies, especially if Bliar asked it for his own referendum, or just about any issue in which vetoes are eliminated by the Constitution.

Europe is withering away.

Again alarmist language.

Sheesh, and I am not even a would-be "Non"-voter...

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

by DoDo on Mon May 29th, 2006 at 07:45:17 AM EST

whatever the "non" voters say

Always a good way to start a debate...

Actually, we don't even hear the "non" crowd. But everybody, in France (usually to regret it) and in the international press (either to regret it or to rejoice), as far as I can tell, notes that Europe is rudderless, without a political project nor purpose.

Do you actually deny this?


The "non" is seen as a vote against Europe

Seen by who?

By those that are against Europe as a political project, and by those that see Europe as a political project. Again, do you see anyone optimistic about Europe's prospects as a political project today? The best I can see is Migeru's "at least no damage will be done for the foreseeable future".



the idea of Europe as a political project has suffered a terrible blow

Alarmist language not unlike "Europe's last chance to keep up in the globalised world". The Constitution would have offered only rather limited advances over the status quo in the political project field.

True, but irrelevant. The death of the Constitution has very real negative consequences. Or would you say that the situation is the same as if the Constitution had not been proposed?



legitimises anti-European speech everywhere

Was anti-European speech ever illegal? Are claims that France is the black sheep and 'reforms' stumbling bock of the EU anti-European speech?

As to your first point, it is pretty silly. Legitimacy and legality are not quite the same thing, you know.
I don't understand your second question.



 the very dream of Europe has been ridiculed for a number of years.

Has been and will be by the usual suspects, taking whatever opportunity - and there would have been plenty of opportunities with an "Oui", too.

True, the "anti" would not have been silenced, but the "pro" HAVE been silenced or ridiculed or both now, and the "anti" are pudhing their advantage with a lot more effectiveness.



the neo-liberals and eurosceptics are pushing their advantage. They are claiming the mantle of the good "pro-Europeans"

Above eurosceptics and neoliberal pro-Europeans are mixed together to declare the latter a non-entity, which serves to ignore that they have been pushing their agenda just as hard - and from a position of the majority - before the "Non" vote already, and would have done so with an "Oui" even stronger.

Why do you make a difference between eurosceptics and neoliberals? I thought the "non" voters of the left were really pro-European and not eurosceptic? As to the pro-European right, it is not neo-liberal. It's not always doing enough to fight the neo-liberal strains in their midst, but it is not neo-liberal. Merkel is a typical example.



We are left exactly with what the "non" voters feared, i.e. an opaque technocratic body focused on free-trade and markets and little else.

This is a clever mis-representation, as many "Non"-voters, that was the as-is view, and they'd expect the cementing of same with the Constitution. That same technocratic body would have kept power with the "yes" vote, too, as less vetoes and more majority votes would have balanced the growing EP power even if reformists wouldn't have a majority in the EP too.

Beyond the much stronger institutional role for the EP, you underestimate the positive effect of a "oui" on the impetus to build a political Europe. Either the UK would have been marginalised in a big crisis if they voted "no", or they would have given a tremendous boost to the European project by adopting the constitution. It would have been a major signl to go for more "deepening" of the Union with the new members, with real popular legitimacy.

Europe has NO POPULAR LEGITIMACY today. What's left? Quite a big machinery, current used for what in the mainstream of elite opinion, i.e. neo-liberalism.



In the absence of political momentum, technocratic deregulation influenced by lobbies is all we'll get

The above

  1. assumes that there was a political momentum before the "Non" vote,
  2. implies with this superposition that somehow a political momentum would have mitigated lobby-influenced dereg,
  3. ignores that most lobbies were actually pro-Constitution.

  1. Even if there hadn't been ,which I don't believe is true, there would have been after passage of the Constitution

  2. non sequitur. I am saying that it would have mitigated it MORE THAN NOW.

  3. the lobbies in Brussels have a self-preservation reflex like all.



Europe has a lot of regulatory power and it is still being used as it needs little political capital, and it is not being used to further a social, democratic Europe..

Which, again, it does quite independently of the Constitution.

Yes, but now it does nothing else.



The fact that they are crowing should make it clear who lost with the death of the Constitution.

We are again suggested a simple win/lose situation. And a zero-sum game.

Well, it is a zero sum game between those that think that Europe is a zero-sum game (the eurosceptics) and those that do not.

And that's not just me being a smartass.

(to be continued)

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

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Mon May 29th, 2006 at 09:43:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
 At every point, I share very strongly DoDo's comments above.  And, to date, not only have I seen no substantive reply to her objections from those who favored the treaty, I have not even seen an effort to reply to these criticisms--anywhere, at any time.

  The entire thrust of the pro-treaty case is summed up as "How dare you oppose and find objectionable what we think is best for Europe?"  And, after that, I never once heard a reasoned case showing why the treaty's terms held more positive points than negative ones.

  In one respect, I differ from DoDo: I did vote "non" and since that time I have not had the slightest reason to regret that vote.  Please keep in mind-- I live in France by deliberate choice, not by chance.  It is here, in Europe, that I see my future; and I am both a confirmed francophile and a confirmed advocate of a strong, united, Europe.

  For me, the treaty had a very simple and obvious goal: enshrine the precepts of globalisation into a formal institution-making legal document.  As I thought that this should be yet another example of the foolish tendency of European political authorities to construct social and economic straight-jackets, the reasonable vote, for me, was never in any doubt.

  I believe very firmly that what we saw in the referendum vote was one of the most exhilarating examples of a wiser, more far-sighted, general public seizing the too-rarely-offered opportunity and saving not only itself from the patent nonsense of a supposedly more intelligent, more politically sophisticated class of political élites, but also saving that supposedly more intelligent, more politically sophisticated class of political élites itself in the bargain !

  To write these treaty opponents off as poorly informed, as manipulated victims, simplistic in their reasoning, as just not "getting it", is all of a piece with the wearisome and unjustified arrogance which so characterises the political élite in France, in the U.S. and just about everywhere else.

  Seldom if ever have I been prouder to count myself among the European public as when the results of this vote were announced.

  Perhaps there have been and shall be many more counter-examples, but, with the Euro treaty referendum result, I felt very much that my view that I had left a nation of people who were disastrously politically unaware, detached from and indifferent to their own government and their own nation's politics, and joined a nation and a community of nations which were demonstrating repeatedly just the opposite.

 Merci, les français!--sincèrement.

  Vivez les français et vivez les Européennes--les tous, nous tous!  Je me trouve chez moi, enfin!

"In such an environment it is not surprising that the ills of technology should seem curable only through the application of more technology..." John W Aldridge

by proximity1 on Mon May 29th, 2006 at 09:53:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
  that is, rather, that,

   " Perhaps there have been and shall be many more counter-examples, but, with the Euro treaty referendum result, I felt very much that my view that I had left a nation of people who were disastrously politically unaware, detached from and indifferent to their own government and their own nation's politics, and joined a nation and a community of nations which were demonstrating repeatedly just the opposite [ --that this view was vindicated ]


"In such an environment it is not surprising that the ills of technology should seem curable only through the application of more technology..." John W Aldridge

by proximity1 on Mon May 29th, 2006 at 10:00:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, I disagree wigorously with you.

The only thing that was new in the Constitution was the more democratic procedures, the legitimation and the celebration of the EU as a political project.

All the "precepts of globalisation" that were in the Constitution were already in force within the EU - and still are today. And as the political project has been killed, they are the ONLY thing that remains.

There are reasons to be against the Bush administration, but being anti-American as a principle is still mostly silly. Similarly, there are reasons to be against current policies of the EU, as they have a clear neo-liberal trend, but being anti-European as a principle to fight these trends is silly and worse, and admission of defeat.

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

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Mon May 29th, 2006 at 10:27:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]

 As I understand it, both prior to the vote, and still today, the treaty's terms stipulated that, upon adoption, it could not be subject to review or to amendment for a period of fifty years.

  I would like to ask you to correct me if that is not an accurate description; then, if it is an accurate discription, I would ask you to show by example any other comparable constitution-like document which you regard as being respectably "democratic" in nature,

  "The EU Constitution becomes part of our Constitution and will not be amendable except with the consent of other countries. This is therefore the most decisive step ever in the near-60-year-old project of European integration, aimed at turning the EEC/EC/EU into a fully-fledged State, a superpower in the world."

 I have to sign out now," bbl".

"In such an environment it is not surprising that the ills of technology should seem curable only through the application of more technology..." John W Aldridge

by proximity1 on Mon May 29th, 2006 at 10:49:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Where on earth did you find this?  And how can you believe it to be true?

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Mon May 29th, 2006 at 11:09:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
From the proposed constitution:
Article IV-443 Ordinary revision procedure

  1. The government of any Member State, the European Parliament or the Commission may submit to the Council proposals for the amendment of this Treaty. These proposals shall be submitted to the European Council by the Council and the national Parliaments shall be notified.

  2. If the European Council, after consulting the European Parliament and the Commission, adopts by a simple majority a decision in favour of examining the proposed amendments, the President of the European Council shall convene a Convention composed of representatives of the national Parliaments, of the Heads of State or Government of the Member States, of the European Parliament and of the Commission. The European Central Bank shall also be consulted in the case of institutional changes in the monetary area. The Convention shall examine the proposals for amendments and shall adopt by consensus a recommendation to a conference of representatives of the governments of the Member States as provided for in paragraph 3.

The European Council may decide by a simple majority, after obtaining the consent of the European Parliament, not to convene a Convention should this not be justified by the extent of the proposed amendments. In the latter case, the European Council shall define the terms of reference for a conference of representatives of the governments of the Member States.

3. A conference of representatives of the governments of the Member States shall be convened by the President of the Council for the purpose of determining by common accord the amendments to be made to this Treaty.

The amendments shall enter into force after being ratified by all the Member States in accordance with their respective constitutional requirements.

4. If, two years after the signature of the treaty amending this Treaty, four fifths of the Member States have ratified it and one or more Member States have encountered difficulties in proceeding with ratification, the matter shall be referred to the European Council.

It's not that bloody hard to find. I take it that you didn't actually read the thing.

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Mon May 29th, 2006 at 11:33:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
 Colman,

  As I read it,

   these provisions mean that if the European Council chooses not to refer proposed amendments to the "constitution" on to " a Convention composed of representatives of the national Parliaments, of the Heads of State or Government of the Member States, of the European Parliament and of the Commission,"  for further action, then the result is that the proposed amendments effectively fail, sine die.

 Or, in other words, for all practical purposes, the treaty cannot be amended AT ALL unless the European Council first approves the proposed amendments in an initial review.

Is that not true?

  By the way, I'd like to know: did you read the treaty in its entirety?  If so, was that prior to deciding your position on it?  

"In such an environment it is not surprising that the ills of technology should seem curable only through the application of more technology..." John W Aldridge

by proximity1 on Mon May 29th, 2006 at 12:42:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It's a treaty between the states. Of course the council has the final word. Welcome to the EU. That's how it works and how it will work for in the short and medium term. It's a state based structure.

And you will note that the actual situation bears no resemblance to the nonsense you posted above.

Yes, I did read through the treaty before I took a decision on it. Didn't you?

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Mon May 29th, 2006 at 12:47:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]

 Sorry, but my question was very precisely and deliberately worded,

 it went like this,

did you read the treaty in its entirety?  If so, was that prior to deciding your position on it?  

  Stating that

  "I did read through the treaty before I took a decision on it."  

 leaves in question the essence of my query: did you read the treaty in its entirety?

 As you asked me, "Didn't you?", the answer is, no, not in its entirety.  But, yes, I "read it through"--i.e. I read some portions of it before voting.

  I know of no one (so far) who read the entire text.  I can only say that I heard rumours of a vanishingly small number of experts who did read it all.

   It is far, far too long and complicated to qualify
as a founding charter.

 If you read the entire text, you'd be the first and only person I know of who can claim that.
   

"In such an environment it is not surprising that the ills of technology should seem curable only through the application of more technology..." John W Aldridge

by proximity1 on Mon May 29th, 2006 at 12:55:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I read the entire text. I did not analyse the entire text in detail, nor would I claim to have understood the entire text.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Mon May 29th, 2006 at 12:59:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]

 "I read the entire text."

 Congratulations.  You're the first person I've ever met who can honestly claim that.

 "I did not analyse the entire text in detail, nor would I claim to have understood the entire text."

  Though you'd be prepared to leave that impression by implication.


"In such an environment it is not surprising that the ills of technology should seem curable only through the application of more technology..." John W Aldridge

by proximity1 on Mon May 29th, 2006 at 01:14:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You said:
As I understand it, both prior to the vote, and still today, the treaty's terms stipulated that, upon adoption, it could not be subject to review or to amendment for a period of fifty years.

This is nonsense, unsupported by any reading of the treaty. Where'd it come from?

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Mon May 29th, 2006 at 01:00:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]

  It came from a claim by members of some group opposed to the treaty--and I don't now know or remember which one.

  Yes, it struck me as quite incredible and I doubted it right away.  Then I thought of the current "economic stability pact" which mandates a certain level of deficits beyond which member nations' budget authorities may not go without risk of sanctions.  And, in light of that idiocy, I thought, "Hmmm.  Maybe it's true, this fifty-year moratorium on amendments to this document.

"In such an environment it is not surprising that the ills of technology should seem curable only through the application of more technology..." John W Aldridge

by proximity1 on Mon May 29th, 2006 at 01:12:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
and yet it's the first substantive argument that you present in this thread.

Funny, that.

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

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Mon May 29th, 2006 at 01:43:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
 That depends on what you classify as a substantive argument, I suppose.

  I have really great respect for your intelligence, J.  When you defend the EU draft treaty, it tells me that there can be no question that very intelligent people favor it and favored it.  Thus, it was a matter that cannot be fairly regarded as simply clear-cut in favor of those opposed.  Moreover, I can't and I don't doubt that in supporting the treaty, you want for France and for Europe what you sincerely believe is best for all of its people.

  When it comes to the case in favor of the treaty, although I subscribe to Le Monde, although I also read and did, at the time, Courrier International and frequently buy Le Figaro, and although I looked for point-by-point presentations of why the treaty's opponents' objections were not valid, I could not find that.  I did read, again and again, highly insulting claims that those who were against the treaty must also be opposed to "Europe", must not have understood the treaty's provisions, must be victims of manipulation.

  In short, instead of a reasoned case, rebutting the concerns of opponents ( see, just as an example of some of them:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/European_constitution#Points_of_contention

 what I found was appeals to authority and open ridicule.  Some proponents even spoke up in warning that such tactics were inviting rejection.

  So, if someone is proposing the adoption of a new measure, the burden is on them to make the case for it.  (You're doing just that, by the way with your collective effort at drafting a set of sane energy policy proposals for the US--and you're further demonstrating, as the EU treaty did not--the wisdom of bringing in open public participation early rather than after the drafting is done.)

  When the party whose burden it is to make the affirmative case relies on appeals to authority and on open ridicule, I do regard that as part of what constitutes substantive evidence against the affirmative case.

  It's rather damning evidence, in my opinion.  You could even look at it this way: suppose the treaty debate had been a criminal case, in which the treaty's proponents have the part of the prosecution; that is, they bear the burden of convincing the jury, which, in the absence of a convincing case, is supposed to regard the defendant's side as prevailing-- even if the defendant says nothing at all the entire time of the trial .

  By that analogy, my view is that in any fair court of law, the jury would return a verdict of "not guilty" and failing that, any fair criminal judge, on hearing a guilty verdict, would be obliged to set it aside, ruling from the bench that the prosecution's case was not legally valid.

 I don't think, over the course of the thread, my mistaken notions about the treaty's amendability and how I happened to come by that mistaken notion is the first example of anything which can be rightly called a substantive argument against the treaty.  The first and the foremost argument I have against it is that its proponents asked for my backing without bothering to make a convincing case.

  In this matter, I'm in the role of a judge; and my judgement was that the affirmative did not meet its burden.  For me, it doesn't get any more substantive than that.

"In such an environment it is not surprising that the ills of technology should seem curable only through the application of more technology..." John W Aldridge

by proximity1 on Mon May 29th, 2006 at 02:12:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, how should we respond to claims that are blatantly false - and are meant as diversions, scaremongering or plain manipulation?

As to the link you provide to the wiki, you will note that all of the substantive arguments against the constitution are sovereignist ones. As I have said before, I disagree (fully) with sovereignists, but I consider their position to be legitimate and coherent.

What I have yet to see is a substantive argument from the partisans of the "non" from the left - those that claim to be pro-Europe and anti-neoliberals but made the choice that could ONLY to less Europe and more neoliberalism - and indeed DID.

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

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Mon May 29th, 2006 at 02:36:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]


 "What I have yet to see is a substantive argument from the partisans of the "non" from the left - those that claim to be pro-Europe and anti-neoliberals but made the choice that could ONLY [lead] to less Europe and more neoliberalism - and indeed DID."

  There is in any such matter a status quo ; I take it as axiomatic that every such status quo is susceptible to being improved upon.  Thus, if someone proposes adoption of changes which I don't see as bringing more in the way of improvements than in the way of harms, and then urges that, "If you don't accept these new terms, imperfect though they are, you're taking a decision which can only lead to things which you also oppose," I'm going to consider that these claims are not only false, but that I'm being both bullied and threatened by some and appealed to out of desperation by others.

  I don't favor adopting changes which must rely on threats, intimidation or desperate appeals.  It gives me the idea that there is something lacking in the changes themselves and that I ought to oppose them on that ground, if for no other.  The claim is that "it's this, or something you'll like even less."  

  My reply to that claim is, "No, it isn't."  There are better alternatives between what we have and something unsatisfactory--not "perfect", I don't expect or ask that; I can't think of any proposal which couldn't be defended as "This is the best possible; if you don't approve it, things shall be even worse."


"In such an environment it is not surprising that the ills of technology should seem curable only through the application of more technology..." John W Aldridge

by proximity1 on Mon May 29th, 2006 at 03:01:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Look at the points of contention and you'll find that the  left wing 'pro Europe' non arguments against it apply to to a large extent to stuff which is merely restating the existing rules.  That's especially true of the 'neo-liberal arguments. So a non vote was just as much an endorsement of neo-liberalism as a yes vote.  

Other arguments are that it doesn't go far enough in its integrationism and increased power to democratic institutions. But a non vote is in effect a vote for less integration and democracy since it reconfirms the status quo.

On the other hand there were solid sovereigniste arguments against the constitution - yes, if you oppose greater European integration it made perfect sense to vote 'non'.

The  left wing 'oui' camp was extremely angry because the  left wing 'non' camp's offered two main reasons for voting no, both of them dishonest. The 'neo-liberal' one and the idea that if this treaty was rejected one could easily recraft a new treaty that was better. But you can't. To get a new and improved constitution you need a unanimous consent from all the governments and all the electorates.  In France there's a good chance you'll get that. Same goes for Germany. In Britain I'm doubtful that a Brown or Cameron government will support such a project. I can guarantee you the current Polish government won't. The previous Polish government did and the population was in an unusually europhilic mood.  Maybe the 'non' people will be right five or ten years down the line.  But that would have been equally true if the constitution had passed.

by MarekNYC on Mon May 29th, 2006 at 02:38:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
 You know what?  You're sounding very defensive; you're using very strong language ("bloody") as anyone native to Britain should recognize.

  You say "It's a treaty between the states. Of course the council has the final word. Welcome to the EU. That's how it works and how it will work for in the short and medium term. It's a state based structure."

 I come from a place where there's also something called a "Constitution"; it, too, is in every sense of the term, both figurative and literal, a treaty between the states which originally adopted it.  But in that treaty, the provisions for amendment provide for the possibility of amendment without resort to any existing formal branch of the government.

  That means that the people of the nation can, without the national government's approval, convene themselves by their several states and, on their own initiative, adopt amendments to the Constitution, which, if approved by sufficient numbers in a sufficient number of the states, become effective whether the national government likes it or not.

  It's called, in a phrase, government of the people, or "democracy"--with warts and faults.  Still, no superior body has a "final word" over that of the specified majority of the citizenry in matters of amending this "treaty between states".

"In such an environment it is not surprising that the ills of technology should seem curable only through the application of more technology..." John W Aldridge

by proximity1 on Mon May 29th, 2006 at 01:08:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Firstly, "Don't be a potty mouth" is not a debating technique I recommend.

Second, if you're interested in practising misdirection can I suggest either a career in children's entertainment or marketing? The point here was not about the detailed shortcomings of the treaty but rebuttal of misinformation.

On your point, I'm not sure where you're from or which constitution you're referring to, but I believe you'll find it makes all sorts of concessions to historical necessity. I'm interested to see how you would propose selling a constitution that does do what the nationalistic opponents of Europe always pretend it does: give away national sovereignty. Each of the national governments is democratically answerable to its people on the matter of the EU and EU treaties. To conflate the general idea of democracy with any particular system is an error.

Could the system be better? Certainly. I'd much rather see a suitably hedged around way for direct citizen action to change the rules but the current limited changes are hard enough to sell.  And the rules don't make things any worse than they are. In fact, allowing Parliament to propose changes is an improvement since that at least allows a coalition of interests across Europe to make a formal proposal.

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Mon May 29th, 2006 at 02:00:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]

 "Firstly, "Don't be a potty mouth" is not a debating technique I recommend."

 Noted.  

 "I'm interested to see how you would propose selling a constitution that does do what the nationalistic opponents of Europe always pretend it does: give away national sovereignty."

  I would not propose for sale a constitution that gives away national sovereignty since I would not myself favor such a document.

  In your rebuttal, you asserted by implication that treaties between states necessarily provide for terms of ratification which make a superior council of some sort the arbiter, gate-keeper, of any motions to amend.

  I showed you in answer my country's counter-example, the United States Constitution, as it happens.  Yes, that document made enormous "concessions to historical necessity"--perhaps the most momentous and fateful was the part about "other persons" as chattel property, which it countenanced.

  Gernerations later, that concession to historical necessity resulted in a civil war which took more American lives than any war before or since.

 That example from history can reasonably contribute to a person deciding that no new document is better than a sufficiently flawed one.

 Speaking of misdirection, your remark here,
  "Second, if you're interested in practising misdirection can I suggest either a career in children's entertainment or marketing?" suggests to me that this is an issue in which your emotions are so invested that you're not ready to discuss it without resort to insult.

  So, I think that we should leave matters with your next reply, if you want to offer one.  When things degenerate to the trading of insults--and I've surely had my part in your feeling provoked, or otherwise, I can't see you taking up that tack--then I'd rather wait for another and a better opportunity--as in the case of the Treaty we were discussing-- because the truth is that, like Jerome's views, I really do respect you and yours very much;  a good deal more than anything that is served by going on with this as it now it is now being framed.

  I regret exasperating and provoking you to such a degree.

"In such an environment it is not surprising that the ills of technology should seem curable only through the application of more technology..." John W Aldridge

by proximity1 on Mon May 29th, 2006 at 02:37:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]

the "non" forces have no project, no counter proposal, and no power.

Argument by declaration, but I'd leave this to a "Non" voter to deconstruct.

Yeah, I look forward to hearing any project or counter proposal. That's a declaration of mine that should be pretty easy to disprove, if false...


they are fully responsible for the rise of nationalist politics in various places

With a slew of hand, a wider and older phenomenon is fully blamed on the opponents on an issue, without a single argument even supporting partial responsibility. And, of course, it is suggested that if some people agree with someone for the wrong reasons, that persons' reasons are invalid too. (Understandable emotionally given "Non"-camp accusations of pro-Constitution leftists pushing the cart of the neoliberal pro-Europeans, though.)

Not correct. What tipped the electorate to the non was the emergence of a very strong strain of non voters among the "government left", not just with the usual suspects on the sovereignist right or the hard left.

I am sure that the left voters did not want nationalism to emerge, but it was the predictable consequence of their vote. Again, this was announced, expected and it came to pass. The non-camp DID push the cart of the neo-liberals. (There is no such thing as a neo-liberal pro-European, it's a contradiction in terms)


the zero-sum game logic (which the "non" side is of course losing) now overwhelming European discussions.

This accusation is especially spectacular after all the preceding was a lot of zero-sum game discussion.

See my comment above. We are not talking about the same game, obviously.


Chirac is still there.

With eliminated rather than rebounding popularity, and Royal topping the polls.

But he's still here. He's just a nuisance, but we all knew this. Using the referendum to express disappointment with him was pointless, and yet it played a role.


France is treated (quite deservedly) like a sick joke.

Which it would have been anyway by the "reformists" whatever it tried to hold up the "reform" push with - be it over farm subsidies, especially if Bliar asked it for his own referendum, or just about any issue in which vetoes are eliminated by the Constitution.

France would have been fought as usual, indeed (and blamed for anythign and everything), but it could not be dismissed as it is today.



Europe is withering away.

Again alarmist language.

I'll grant you this one! ;-)


Sheesh, and I am not even a would-be "Non"-voter...

Yeah right.

I eagerly await the deconstruction of my deconstruction of your deconstruction of my post...

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

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Mon May 29th, 2006 at 02:52:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
(There is no such thing as a neo-liberal pro-European, it's a contradiction in terms)

Sure there are, at least in Poland. Plenty of the neo-liberals in the PO are pro-European, and among the ex-communists neo-liberalism and pro-European stances correlates quite well. On the other hand those who are (or at least claim they are) opposed to neo-liberal economics tend to be neutral or anti-European.  Is this even true in France? Aren't some of the UDF people simultaneously sympathetic to neo-liberalism and pro-Europe?

by MarekNYC on Mon May 29th, 2006 at 03:01:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
i don't know if anyone here has read the "constitution" proposal which was voted down in france. i have. and i can assure you that there are passages which would make mussolini and hitler pale in envy, and there is very bad stuff which seems to have been copied 1:1 from the american "patriot" acts. apart from part 2, the HR charta, what was voted down is a collection of democratic and legislative horrors.

second problem i have with the proposal is about the people who are pushing it. is is disingenious of jerome to write that "the neo-liberals and eurosceptics are pushing their advantage. They are claiming the mantle of the good "pro-Europeans" ... when, looking at this whole charade with a bit of circumspection, we see that those who are pushing the proposal are neocons and neo-fascists and their israel-ueber-alles coterie of traitors.

oh, and lest we forget the commitment to democracy of our "dear leaders", lets remember that when they tried to ram it thru, the condition for "success" was that, if one country of the 25 said non that would be that. how did this play out ? first they rammed it thru the parliaments of several countries and celebrated "successes" which made them become "confident". when this happened they condescended to let france and (the NL ?) acclaim it by popular vote, as it should have been in first place. well, the french and the other guys gave them a clear and resounding NON. since then out traitors in chief have been licking wounds and staging "acclamations by parliament" in some other countries. of course, to say that they want the people to "vote it right" would be all too insulting to these assholes.

may the lord call them to his side soon.

by name (name@spammez_moi_sivouplait.org) on Mon May 29th, 2006 at 07:46:38 AM EST
i don't know if anyone here has read the "constitution" proposal which was voted down in france. i have. and i can assure you that there are passages which would make mussolini and hitler pale in envy

you really need to find a better supplier, whatever it is you're smoking is clearly not providing that nice mellow feeling.

when, looking at this whole charade with a bit of circumspection, we see that those who are pushing the proposal are neocons and neo-fascists and their israel-ueber-alles coterie of traitors.

Ahh yes, those impassioned editorials in the Weekly Standard pleading for a yes vote.  The tireless pro-constitution campaigning by the Front National, the NPD, and the LPR in France, Germany, and Poland.  

by MarekNYC on Mon May 29th, 2006 at 11:34:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
What do you think is exactly wrong with France??
Is it too far to the right or to the left?
Because i have lived here for a while around three years mostly around Paris.  And i think that there is something wrong.  I do not subscribe to the screams of the right to liberalise but i must say i do feel that sometimes the law does rather favour the employee.
I do feel that there is a lack dynamism about the country and i do think that there is a malaise in  the air.  
And most of all i think that french society treats young people badly and people of non white origin worse.  
Am I wrong.  Is that just me absorbing the "paris media" too much?

"Whenever a separation is made between liberty and justice, neither, in my opinion, is safe." Edmund Burke
by Boru on Mon May 29th, 2006 at 07:48:14 AM EST

  when I return in the week, I promise to bring a more well-tempered attitude.

  May those I've offended today forgive me.  It was in the effort to explain myself; I respect your views and your reasons for holding them even if I can't agree with them this time.

 P.

"In such an environment it is not surprising that the ills of technology should seem curable only through the application of more technology..." John W Aldridge

by proximity1 on Mon May 29th, 2006 at 03:10:27 PM EST
My wife and I received the Constitution in the mail.  It was unreadable.  Had we been asked to sign it as a contract, and after all it is a social contract, we would not have been able to sign it.

Should we have hired a lawyer to permit us to have some, slight understanding of its contents?

Who could possibly have voted "Yes"?

"...these dead shall not have died in vain...and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth."

by Ethelred on Mon May 29th, 2006 at 04:00:17 PM EST
perhaps you have a blind spot here, jerome, and to me a surprising one.

i think the 'non' vote was a very honest plea from the people for a different kind of bureaucracy here in europe....a simpler communication and statement of policy/purpose that the average intelligent - if unversed in legalese/bureauspeak - could still understand, relate to, and then support.

the us constitution is brilliant and should have served as a model, most of all in its succinct, even terse summation of ideology.

what many europeans hate about brussels is precisely the kind of obfuscatory fog the proposed constitution was redolent of...more brussels-speak that no-one who is not an uber-wonk will understand.

if there is something good about the ideals you espouse (and i too), then it should be easily communicable to an averagely-educated 15 year-old.

the more opaque the language, the more doubtful the electorate,

i really do think it's that simple, and many people i speak with who were joyously optimistic about project europe, now have become resigned to the possibility that it's just the same old shit, purposely made unintelligible, in order to fool more people more of the time into giving up their rights to the faceless few, who have not always acted very intelligently along the way.

if europe has a collective future that will survive the coming trials (and optimist that i am, i still have severe doubts), then its goals need to be clearly and unequivocally stated, couched in language so transparent that it leaves no doubt about intentions and execution.

not a massive, unreadable tome that leaves the heart cold, and suspicions unanswered.

i sympathise with you and your position, though i wonder why you don't understand why others demand better from a document that will have such giant repercussions on all our lives.

'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 Tue May 30th, 2006 at 03:29:40 AM EST
Jerome, with all due respect, and coming in late in the discussion, let me present a counter-argument:
  • The prospect of a united, democratic (and ultimately confederate) Europe had received a terrible blow before the constitution by the EU's expansion. This signified, I think, that the EU institutionally had absolutely no desire to "deepen" the union and create some forms of strengthened democratic accountability, because, were that the case, the institutional changes required would have taken precedence over geographic expansion. Anything that was bloody difficult with 15 members became bloody impossible with 25 - and not all of the new members were exactly eager to proceed to a tighter union.

  • The fact of the matter is that the third part of the proposed constitution was a neo-liberal manifesto. The fact that it wasn't worse than what was being enacted before, is I think irrelevant: It would have been legitimized as constitutional principle and would be that much harder to oppose. It's the difference between the government passing neoliberal laws privatizing the public utilities and including a passage that states that all utilities should be private in a country's constitution. While such a constitutional amendment might indeed be in practice "no worse" than what was already in place, politically it is vastly worse.I quote from an article  by Bernard Cassen written before the referendum in Le Monde Diplomatique:

...In drawing up this treaty, Europe's governments couldn't resist the golden opportunity it presented to constitutionalise the neo-liberal doctrine. The third section can only be explained as an attempt to set in stone the diktats of free trade and establish the rule of the market once and for all. (Its principles are enshrined on the first page of the document: article I-3 stresses the importance of "free and undistorted" competition in "a highly competitive social market economy". Article I-4 sets out the EU's "fundamental freedoms": placing human beings on a level with commodities, its first sentence guarantees "the free movement of persons, services, goods and capital".)

That this wasn't "really" a constitution, is a. debatable and b. beside the point: the fact that it was being advertised as such surely means that the intention was for it to be used as such.

  • "The "non" is seen as a vote against Europe" by those that don't want to even ponder the alternative. The fact that the no vote might have been a vocal vote of no confidence for the policies of the past 15 years, is an idea that no one among the EU's elites wants to ponder much less discuss. One could reasonably claim that in a EU with a widening democratic deficit the referendum was seen as an opportunity by many to express not only their opposition to legitimizing as a "constitution" the same set of policies that were actually hurting them, but their displeasure at the way the EU was developing. The "oui" would certainly be seen by these same circles as a vote for their particular set of policies. And I'm quite positive that this would have been worse. If they can spin the "non" vote, imagine what they could do to the "oui" vote...

  • "We are left exactly with an opaque technocratic body focused on free-trade and markets and little else" - that however is not legitimized by popular vote, and should feel uneasy about it - which it does. The alternative would have been to have the same opaque technocratic body focused on free-trade and markets and little else, with a huge blank check to write policy for the foreseeable future.

  • The neo-liberals are pushing their agenda, pretending that the result (which was partly a condemnation of their policies) meant the exact opposite of what it meant in reality*. This is understandable, but not really convincing. Imagine if the constitution had actually passed however: do you think that they would be in a worse position to push their agenda?

  • The "non" forces and not at all responsible (not in the slightest) for the rise of nationalist policies everywhere, a phenomenon that predates the european referendum by a decade. These forces have indeed made inroads in Europe precisely because the European project has been dominated by neoliberal policies. To the extent that the left does not draw a very clear line and doesn't distance itself from these sort of policies, doesn't wake up to the fact that the European agenda isn't hers any more and doesn't actively try to take it back, it will allow displeasure and disenchantment in Europe to spread even wider among the people - and then it will be responsible for the rise of nationalist forces - who are gaining from the EU card exactly because the slide to "a Europe of the markets" is really affecting people, who will thus vote for whoever expresses their discontent in any form.

  • The "Non" forces must indeed proceed more forcefully to state their message. It doesn't help that they are being treated as pariahs in most of the EU's media. As I pointed out in an earlier diary, it seems that the idea of a review of the European constitution in a way that would be pretty much a victory for the left "Non" vote, is being seriously considered. The EU must have a working document of basic principles. The only issue, ever, was what sort of document.

Jerome, I think the logic behind the "left yes" vote has been a contributing factor to the EUs "shift toward the right" and away from democratic accountability. Every bone that was thrown leftwards was heralded as a victory, while all the deep institutional changes and the widening of the democratic deficit in the EU, was dismissed as "circumstantial". Whatever helped in "building European institutions" was seen as positive, no matter what the political balance of power was... There was and is a powerful current within the european left that seems to believe that a. it is in some sort of position of strength and b. that the main issue is to proceed with European integration and we'll talk about the political "details" after this has been consolidated. Well a.it isn't and b.by then you'll already be living in a US economy v 2.0. The time to draw lines was last year- and it was about time.

* Note the title of this story and compare it with the results of a very recent poll in France:

Apart from the constitution, the great majority favoured building European structures, with 44 percent calling themselves "enthusiastic" and 38 percent saying they were "favourable" against only 8 percent "sceptical" and 7 percent "hostile".

"Everything that's going on in public opinion is suggests the debate is not between 'pro' and the 'anti' Europeans but is more about the nature and the content of the European project," TNS Sofres said.



The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom - William Blake
by talos (mihalis at gmail dot com) on Tue May 30th, 2006 at 05:23:31 AM EST
Thanks for this post. Would you mind posting it as a diary, I'll front page it. This discussion needs to be continued, and yesterday's story is too deep to be kept alive - plus I want to give your points prominence.

And then I'll disucss them!

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

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Tue May 30th, 2006 at 06:43:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Happy to... Done!

The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom - William Blake
by talos (mihalis at gmail dot com) on Tue May 30th, 2006 at 07:44:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Good. I'm happy to see talos decided to reply, so that I don't have to play devil's advocate, and can briefly state my personal opinion:

  • I would probably have voted "Oui" for what I saw as small advances in political structure, while (unlike both you and many "Non" campaigners) I didn't think the Constitution makes much of a difference regarding the neoliberal push.
  • With the Merkel government in, the Barroso Commission showing its colours, and even whom I wanted in place of Barroso, the Luxemburg PM having shown anti-democratic instincts over the issue of software patents as Council President, I don't see any practical benefits of streamlined Council decisionmaking in the near future.
  • All in all, I see the issue of the Constitution as rather insignificant today, and a distraction in the larger fight against neoliberalism. With  or without the EU Constitution, the EU can only progress in a socialistic-democratic direction (by amendments resp. by drafting a new version) if current political elites (centre-right and centre-left) are replaced in the majority of EU members.
  • So I don't just see your frontpage story as different from my views, and not representing what I read from "Non" advocates at the time, and too hot on rhetoric, but also as needless polemics in best leftist internal fight tradition.
  • Just on one issue of detail: pro-European neoliberals. We have been here before, when discussing Bliar, when I pointed out that Europe is full of similarly thinking politicians (pro-European neoliberal, NOT sovereignist and NOT isolationist), in which France may be the exception to the rule. Marek pointed out that Polish neoliberals are THE pro-EU camp, and they are the most EU-enthusiastic in some other Central-Eastern European countries, too (including mine). Which are apt examples because contrary to Bliar or the German FDP or Merkel, you can't harbor suspicions that they only speak empty Europhile words and hope secretly that the EU will collapse or their country will get out of it by some historical accident, as their support took the form of pursuing their countries' joining of the EU.


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue May 30th, 2006 at 08:24:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Why aren't you posting this in the fresh thread?

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Tue May 30th, 2006 at 10:21:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Didn't saw it/most of it is reply to you.

But OK, I'll look through it and will post relevant parts in the new thread.

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

by DoDo on Tue May 30th, 2006 at 11:34:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]


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