Tuesday, May 04, 2004
Minor Amendments

The Irish Presidency of the European Union has published a series of minor amendments to the draft Constitution, following clarification by "legal experts". These form a tidying up exercise and are designed to defuse any possible disagreements that may hold up a consensus at the next formal meeting of foreign ministers on the 17th May 2004.

These include such important reforms as:

cutting the number of seats for Romania in the European Parliament to 35;
clarifying relationships between various parts of the Commission, parliament and other institutions set up by the Constitution;
promoting parallelism (read agreement) between external agreements and internal legislation (surely this last is a given).

This new paper demonstrates that substantive disagreements on the draft Constitution are not publicised. They may be dormant or non-existent. It is clear that recent publicity on Britain's referendum has dulled the appetite of the Irish for further changes. There will be no further amendments unless an unexpected demand arises out of the official foreign ministers' meetings.

On a more sensible point, the Scottish National Party, have noticed the raw deal given to their fishermen and are unwilling to support a bad deal for Scotland. As Pat Cox, President of the European Parliament, stated, Scottish fishermen must be rolled over by the European bus for the greater good:

"If we all, region by region, sector by sector, said ‘stop the bus mate, we're getting off here, but we want to go on the rest of the journey when it suits us', we would have a chaotic scramble, an a la carte Europe, and a mess where none of us would ever with any predictive capacity, know what to influence, who to influence or how to gain, and we don't need that kind of Europe."

Next thing you know, they'll be demanding control over their own lives and livelihoods. Who knows where such radicalism could lead to....?

(22.50, 4th May 2004)


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