Monday, August 27, 2012

Ructions, ructions

The truth is that the EU has reached a point at which no agreement between the various colleagues is possible. It was easy enough in the past to go along vaguely with that much vaunted "ever closer union of the peoples" (which was there in the Treaty of Rome, let me remind everyone) and talk equally vaguely about European values, peace and brotherhood, apple pie and motherhood but what with one thing and another, the time has come when some decision needs to be taken as to what exactly all that means.

We have a fiscal pact, possibly, depending on the forthcoming Karlsruhe court decision and we really need to create a much more centralized economic government if we want the euro to survive beyond the next couple of years in some form or another but is that really what the leaders of the various member state want?

Chancellor Merkel thinks we should have another treaty and is going to call for a convention to draft the pact to be convened before the end of the year. The convention will, if called, spend a good many months drafting a new treaty, which will then have to be discussed with all the member states and an IGC called when there is a vague chance of an agreement. (In parenthesis, let me remind readers of this blog that instead of pretending to have vetoed a non-existent treaty, that is precisely what Mr Cameron should have done last December: demand a convention that would draft a new treaty etc etc. That would have given him plenty of time to decide what it is he wants to achieve if, indeed, there is anything he wants to achieve beyond hanging on to his position as PM of this country.)

However, there seems to be severe disagreement between the other member states.
So far, though, the German proposal has found few supporters in the other EU member states. During a meeting of the so-called Future Group, an informal gathering of 10 foreign ministers from EU countries, the majority opposed a call by German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle for a new treaty convention. Other countries, including Ireland, do not want to take the risk of a national referendum, which a new EU treaty would entail in some member states. Poland, a close partner of Berlin, also believes there is currently little chance of finding a compromise among the 27 member states.
Even France is no longer on side with President Hollande busy trying to wreck that country's economy and, therefore, having less time to negotiate with his German counterpart.

One possibility Chancellor Merkel seems to have been thinking about is a new treaty that would be only for the eurozone. But would that be an EU treaty? Certainly, its legality under the EU rules has been questioned from the moment the idea had been proposed. What to do? The one thing we can be reasonably certain of is that the UK government is not likely to play a major part in the ensuing deliberations. Mr Cameron has ensured that in his terrible fear of having to debate a new treaty in Parliament and, perhaps, putting one to a referendum.

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