Sunday, April 27, 2003
What happened in the Convention - 27th April 2003, 13.41

The Financial Times carries informative reports of the European Convention but the articles on the website are only available to subscribers. therefore, here is a quick posting on an article by Daniel Dombey of the FT, published on the 24th April 2003.

Giscard D'Estaing obtained full support from the Praesidium of the Convention on his proposals for a full-time President of the European Union. His supporters included Gisela Stuart, the New Labour representative on the Convention, who was described as "broadly favourable" and clearly indicates that the Blair government will sign up to the Constitution, as it is currently drafted.

Members of the European parliament, suspicious of plans for a new Congress of the Peoples of Europe which could choose the council president, labelled the ideas "a slap in the face for European democracy", a "hijack" of the EU by big nation states, and "autistic".

This un-PC language from the European parliamentarians demonstrate how much most members are opposed to domination of the EU by the larger countries. Even Germany was tentative in its support as opposed to Britain and France. D'Estaing found that his proposals were watered down: the role of the vice-presidency was abandoned whilst a board to assist the President was downgraded to an "option". The number of Commissioners would be reduced to 15 from 25 though a further 15 "commission delegates" would be appointed in a sleight of hand that both reduces and increases the number of individuals appointed by the member states in the Commission.

The council president would be chosen from the ranks of past or serving EU leaders, have the right to call together summits and represent the EU to foreign heads of state and government. He or she would serve for a renewable term of two and half years, ending the current system in which countries take six month turns to preside over the council.

The Euroepan Presidency would only be available to the current political mafia (read "class") that forms the incompetent elite of most of these countries. No doubt the first compromise candidate will resurrect the political career of Jacques Poos (also known as Chirac) and extend his period of immunity from prosecution.

The Conservatives did condemn the proposals as "jobs for the boys".


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