It’s not so much a constitution as a document that subsumes and clarifies four older inter-governmental treaties that formed the European Union’s ‘constitutional base’. bq. “…the question remains whether the constitution can make an enlarged Europe work. A second question is whether it will ever come into force. The text has to be ratified in all 25 member states, some through problematic national referendums. It is clear that two years of hard political slog lie ahead.” (“Financial Times”:http://www.ft.com/servlet/ContentServer?pagename=FT.com/StoryFT/FullStory&c=StoryFT&cid=1087373129861&p=1012571727102) The full FT article is an excellent summary of the draft and it’s complex attempts to bridge contrary ambitions for Europe. bq. “In any club of 25 members, there are bound to be divisions, but in Brussels there were signs of two power blocs taking shape. The first, led by Britain and Italy, wants to limit further European integration, is Atlanticist and believes strongly in free markets and free trade. Also affiliated are Poland and some of the other new member states and the Nordic countries. The second bloc, led by France and Germany, wants to push on to new areas of integration, is against the Iraq war, and has a tendency towards state intervention in the economy. Spain and Belgium are among their main allies.” Also in the FT article, an account of one of the most un-edifying—but typical—struggles in recent EU history: last week’s attempt to pick an EU president. bq. “The dinner ended in deadlock after the rival candidatures of Guy Verhofstadt, Belgian prime minister, and Chris Patten, the British EU commissioner for external affairs, had their bids blocked. Both men have now withdrawn from the race and Mr Ahern has just 10 days to find a compromise candidate before his presidency of the EU ends on June 30.”
Peter Gallagher is a leading Australian consultant on trade and public policy.[bio].
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