Monday, January 13, 2003
Heralding an Inner Core - 13th January 2003, 20.56

The New Year brings the latest signs of co-operation from the revived French and German marriage. The next fortnight heralds important steps in this relationship as Chirac and Scroeder conduct their summit and put forward a combined proposal to the Convention. All sides in the EU are holding their breath to see if they tilt towards the intergovernmentalists or the federalists.

It appears as if the federalist wing may win. France and Germany are planning to swap ministers between their cabinets and unify their approach towards Europe by ensuring that large parts of new legislation are identical for both countries and provides an unstoppable momentum that other countries are unable to resist.

The political elites of both countries view the Holy Grail of dominance in a new European state as such an important goal, that they wish to circumvent their own parliaments, or already perceive them to be rubber stamps designed to provide a democratic relief to their plans.

In a sign of the increased importance of the Convention and reflecting the Greek presidency, George Papandreou will be the latest foreign minister to join. His counterparts present include Belgium, the Netherlands, France and Germany. Does this reflect an inner core?


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