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Saturday, June 23, 2007

proper names

Isn't there something a bit peculiar about this sentance:

"The Union Minister for Foreign Affairs will be called High Representative of the Union for Foriegn Affairs and Security policy"

It might - to the uninitiated - suggest a rather cynical approach, based on not calling things what they really are.

In fact the IGC mandate is absolutely festooned with instances in which the main text says one thing and the footnotes (mostly non-legally-binding sops to the Brits) say another. The mandate is now up on the web in the European Council conclusions.

They say that the IGC will start at the end of July and is supposed to wrap by the end of the year so that the new constitutional treaty can be ratified and in force before the next European elections (indeed, its the proximity between putting the Constitution through parliament and those elections that might prove tricky for Brown).

Its quite interesting to look at the heat and light generated by the talks on the new constitutional treaty in comparison to the day to day activity of the EU, as summed up in the rest of the Council conclusions. For example these conclusions note that, "The European Council reaffirms its commitment to realising, as part of the comprehensive European migration policy, the Common European Asylum System by the end of 2010." Very few lobby journalists in Britain even realise that this is happening, and still less has been written about it.

Its that gradual "competence creep" that makes the proposals in the IGC mandate for a
"simplified revision proceedure" so alarming. If the treaties can just be gradually amended, and further vetoes given up without a new treaty then things will just happen gradually, below the radar, with no scrutiny and no input from the public.

Perhaps that is what Gordon Brown will rip out of the text. He will certainly wait to see what emerges as the biggest point of concern - and then get it taken out.

As it stands, the proposal is sinply just to implement the whole EU constitution as a series of amendments to the existing treaties. That's no good for Brown. He needs blood on the carpet. His spinner has already briefed everyone about how he slapped down Blair over Sarkozy's demands. Next he will want to be able to arge that he has brutally "defeated" Sarko or Merkel on something. They have probably already agreed over a good dinner about what it will be.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It reflects the Presidency's approach to drafting the mandate: i.e. to base it on the text of the existing (and unratified) Constitutional Treaty (supported by 22 of the 27 governments represented at the Council) rather than starting from scratch.