EU Constitution draft adopted

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”: 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.”

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