Without going too much in detail over the current Constitutional debate (you can jump to Jon’s comment about Onesta’s proposal), I would just like to share with you some brilliant thoughts of the French Member of the European Parliament (MEP) Alain Lamassoure (thanks for the paper Peter) on the matter.
At a recent seminar organised by the European Union’s Institute for Security Studies (iss-eu) in Paris, Mr Lamassoure’s intervention is summarized as following (sorry for the long quote):
Alain Lamassoure (MEP) felt that the CT could not be rescued and strongly argued for launching a new process to produce a new Treaty. This process could only succeed on two conditions. First, failure had to be ruled out from the start. That implied that Member States agreed to exclude referenda. The probability of a negative vote in at least one country across the EU remained very high, but the EU could not afford another such blow. That also meant that the new text could not be called a Constitution. Second, one should not jeopardise the delicate balance achieved in the CT or the deal would unravel. In producing the new text one needed to use the scissors, not the pen. Only those provisions that were truly innovative, form a legal standpoint, should be preserved. It was also necessary to proceed quickly: the longer the waiting time, the older the compromise would become, and the stronger the requirement for setting up a new Convention and starting all over again. Following the ongoing bilateral â€˜confessionalsâ€™, the German Presidency should be in the position to launch a new IGC at the European Council in June, with a limited mandate to save the innovations of the CT without reopening the Pandoraâ€™s box on sensitive questions. The new Treaty could be drafted and signed under the Portuguese Presidency, and ratified by national parliaments in the following 18 months, before the European elections of June 2009.
Ok, since I have had the pleasure to work with the person that wrote the minutes in the past, I regard them as well prepared and carefully put on paper. But what Mr Lamassoure said in Paris is contradictory and simply sad. How can a French politician learn so little from such a large debate as the one from 2005?
Think what he is saying:
1. we need to start from the beginning
2. we need a slimmer treaty (Sarko, Sarko…)
3. we cannot fail, so no referendums
4. we cannot call it a constitution
5. we should not have a new Convention
6. we should not reopen sensitive questions
7. we agree
8. we ratify
Note that “we” doesn’t have anything to do with the French people that voted “no” in 2005. We means, sadly, once again those political leaders that have failed to put enough confidence in people to vote “yes” the first time around.
P.S.: The minutes from the seminar are not available on the ISS-EU website. I can however provide a copy to those interested:)