Thursday, April 10, 2003
Damn - 10th April 2003, 22.07

One of the possible exit strategies hoped for was that countries which did not ratify the European Constitution would be demoted to an outer tier. However, Giscard D'Estaing has tried to close this route:

The threat to exclude countries that do not ratify the treaty was backed both by federalists, anxious to shed less integrationist countries, and by Eurosceptics who saw an opportunity to create an outer tier of states committed to a looser trade arrangement. But a protocol made public yesterday says only that if two years after the constitution is signed, four-fifths of the countries have ratified but one or more has not, the issue will be referred to EU leaders. That means the constitution would not come into force until all countries have ratified it.

If Britain did not sign up at the inter-governmental conference in 2004, a new form of membership could start and possibly develop on a de facto basis outside of Europe, defined as those countries which ratify the constitution. There would be great pressure to enter this new polity, and much more vocal in its demands than the current campaign on the continent for Britain to speed up its entry to the Euro.


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