Thursday, 5 July 2007

Euro-politicians upset with Summit?

Some supporters of European federalism and supranationalism came away disappointed by the Brussels summit. The Belgians, for instance, did little to hide their dissatisfaction. Karel de Gucht, the Belgian Foreign Minister, said that he and the Prime Minister, Guy Verhofstadt, had managed to preserve the essential points of the old constitution but that “The aim of the constitutional treaty was to be more comprehensible; the aim of this treaty is to be incomprehensible.” Mr De Gucht dismissed the treaty as “a treaty of footnotes”.

The Belgians are convinced that they owe the fact that there was a deal at all to the brokerage of Jean-Claude Juncker, the Prime Minister of Luxembourg, and not to the new French President. However, even Mr Juncker was clearly not very happy with the outcome. Speaking on the Saturday morning after the summit, he said that it had produced “a very complicated simplified treaty”. (A “simplified treaty” was what Nicolas Sarkozy had said he wanted.)

The Belgians and the Luxembourgers warned, however, that the deal at the summit did not mean that the new treaty would succeed either. A coalition of socialists and conservatives in the Netherlands quickly denounced the new treaty and demanded a referendum on it as well.

The German Green MEP, Daniel Cohn-Bendit (the leader of the May 1968 revolution in France), also attacked the new treaty, saying that it would not give Europe the ability to speak with one voice. He particularly criticised the opt-outs from foreign policy obtained by the United Kingdom. Cohn-Bendit attacked the British and the Poles, saying that they were quite capable of going back on their word. “I would remind you that they both signed the Charter of Fundamental Rights” from which Britain has now obtained an opt-out.
[Jean-Jacques Bozonnet, Rafaële Rivais, Jean-Pierre Stroobants, Le Monde, 26 June 2007]

---- An excerpt from John Laughland's Intelligence Digest. For a free e-mail subscription to the Intelligence Digest, please click here. ----

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