Saturday, December 13, 2003
Paradise Postponed

The negotiations over the draft of the European Constitution have broken up without agreement. The gap over voting rights, between those who defended their privileges enshrined in the Nice Treaty and the supporters of the new system that increased German influence, could not be bridged.

The initial reaction of European leaders to this development has been to downplay the consequences of the breakdown.

Whilst the current postponement of negotiations is welcome, it is too early to conclude its effect upon long-term trends. The existing structures based upon Nice remain and will be stretched through their accommodation of the new accession countries. Arguments of an inner zone, variable geometry or institutional crisis are speculations that await further events.

This is not the first time in the history of the EU/EEC that countries have failed to agree. So far, this has not led to the withdrawal of a member state or a reversal of the long-term ideological and institutional trend towards integration.

Still, I'm enjoying a warm glow this afternoon.

(16.43, 13th December 2003)


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