We’re still all waiting really. Waiting to know what the next move really in the saga is going to be (Iceland isn’t in the community yet, if I remember correctly). Staring into the tea-leaves and casting a wary eye over towards Brussels, looking desperately for clues.
What this continuing lack of definition really does is make matters worse., compound the problem. It re-inforces exactly that feeling of being ‘left out of things’ that probably produced the ‘no’ votes in the first place. This isn’t very promising if you were hoping that at least the rejection of the constitution at the ballot box would act as a kind of ‘shock therapy’, now is it?
However, according to the rumours:
Gerhard Schr?der yesterday launched some sort of ‘big push’: a round of diplomacy aimed at keeping ratification of the constitution going in spite of the defeats in France and The Netherlands. But, in the other corner, Tony Blair, is working equally hard to stop this initiative dead in its tracks.
According to the FT, several European commissioners are privately calling for a pause in the referendums, to prevent an avalanche of No votes causing long-term damage to the Europen project.:
“At a closed-door meeting on Wednesday, when exit polls already indicated that the Dutch would vote heavily against the constitution, the commissioners warned Jos? Manuel Barroso, Commission president, that further referendums could paralyse the EU’s agenda and put its future development at risk.
Peter Mandelson, trade commissioner, warned of ?creeping paralysis? for the EU if attempts continued to ratify the constitution, which has so far been backed by 10 EU countries.
?The priority must be survival and revival,? he said, suggesting that the EU push the ?pause button? on the constitution. ?There is a risk of two years of uncertainty if we continue with the referendums,? said Gunter Verheugen, deputy Commission president. ?We must not give into blackmail,? he added, expressing a concern that if popular votes continued, the Commission would be pushed to scale down or delay plans on economic reform”.
Now among other points of interest in this report is the emergence of the name of Peter Mandelson. Whenever you have a power vacuum, you may also find an emergent ‘power behind the throne’. Whatever the ‘mal-odeur’ there may be associated with this particular name in UK politics, I have no doubt whatsoever that he is head and shoulders above much of the other ‘talent’ that there is knocking around, and would only expect his star to rise and rise in the corridors of the Commission, unless, that is, he gets there first, and successfully alienates all those within striking distance.