Over to You, Ireland

European summit ends in failure

EU constitution talks set to fail

Es ist vorbei

Echec des n?gociations sur la Constitution europ?enne

Wlosi oglaszaja fiasko negocjacji

Liberum veto, an old Polish custom with unfortunate precedents and consequences.

This entry was posted in A Fistful Of Euros, The European Union and tagged , by Doug Merrill. Bookmark the permalink.

About Doug Merrill

Freelance journalist based in Tbilisi, following stints in Atlanta, Budapest, Munich, Warsaw and Washington. Worked for a German think tank, discovered it was incompatible with repaying US student loans. Spent two years in financial markets. Bicycled from Vilnius to Tallinn. Climbed highest mountains in two Alpine countries (the easy ones, though). American center-left, with strong yellow dog tendencies. Arrived in the Caucasus two weeks before its latest war.

9 thoughts on “Over to You, Ireland

  1. Interested in this supposed failure of the Brussels summit to approve an EU Constitution – but you don’t read German, French, and/or Polish? I’ll be reviewing the press coverage soon from all these countries, and more – and I’ll deliberately include the on-line articles “Fistful” links here – in a forthcoming entry on my weblog EuroSavant (http://www.eurosavant.com).

  2. As I suggest in further detail on my blog, each issue that the member states cannot resolve, should be put direct to the people in a Europe-wide referendum.

  3. It crashed over voting (no surprise), but there were still other issues waiting in the wings. The French and German arrogance towards the smaller countries continues to amaze me.

    For that matter, the lack of transparency and democracy within the Commission continue to amaze me as well, but I seem to live in one of the last true democracies on the planet (Switzerland). Of course, I don’t get to vote, as I’m not Swiss, but at least my neighbors have more of an impact on their government than my erstwhile homeland.

  4. On the question of votes in the council, I don’t think FR and GE are being arrogant at all. I do think a lot of this could have been avoided if French diplomacy hadn’t been needlessly irritating and thoroughly inept during the negotiations in Nice in 2000, but that is water under the bridge.

    Under the rules from Nice, GE, FR, IT and UK have 29 weighted votes each, representing populations of ca. 80 million for GE and 60+ million for the other three. Under these rules, PL and ES have 27 votes for populations of ca. 40 million. From the German perspective, half of its population – the equivalent of PL’s or ES’ entire population – counts for fewer additional votes than the population of Malta. The situation for the other three of the big four is only half as bad, but it’s still not what anyone would call fair.

    The construction of blocking minorities is also much easier under the Nice rules. That’s a problem for anyone who wants to see the Union functioning with 25 members.

    More details are here: http://www.cap.uni-muenchen.de/konvent/spotlight.htm

  5. I agree with Doug.
    This thing of the smaller vs the bigger countries has nothing to do with what the citizens of the countries really want: it’s the national political elites clinging to (national!) power.
    If the power of the national political leaders is not driven back in favor of the European Parliament and the commission I say no to the constitution !

  6. Well,
    VGD just got his consolation prize, so it looks as if the role of Father of E.U’s constitution is open once more…

    VGD probably got the Politics and Procedures mostly right, but what I saw lacked Poetry. Furthermore, I’m suspicious of what’s essentially a piece of software that’s largely untested. I think a European Constitution should be ISO 9002 compliant…and somewhat pleasurable to read.

  7. The whole thing is a disgrace. The Germans are completely right. There may be a lack of tact here, but Fischer was right when he talked about the applicants possibly losing out on money. Does Poland really think it can have full access to markets and have its economy subsidised and infrastructure built by countries it refuses to give anything to in return?

    Nice was only meant to be a stop-gap. I voted for it, twice, but wasn’t happy. It was a good deal for Ireland but a bad one for Europe. And the Spaniards and Poles seem to think that every Spaniard or Pole is worth more than two Germans? Even combined the two countries have about 4 million people less than Germany.

    I have long thought of Poland as the heart of Europe, but now… if this is how they really feel, I think we could wait before allowing them to join the Union. I’d be really curious to know what the Polish press is saying about this? The Germans are Arrogant, or Our Leaders are Dicks?

  8. Greg, what is wrong with the idea of the Polish PM acting in the interests of his countrymen, to whom he is accountable.

  9. Sean Fear, since I am a Spanish citizen and not a Polish one, I cannot answer directly to your question. Still since Aznar has taken the same attitude as Miller maybe you’ll find my opinion sufficient.
    These politicians are not defending their countrymen interests. They are defending, in the best of cases, the interests of a part of their electors. On the whole all of Spaniards, Poles, and Europeans regardless of the state in which they live, will be better when the EU is more democratically governed. As a Spanish citizen I have no claims on German solidarity in comparison to the claims that I can have on my fellow citizens. Now up till now my country has been very favoured at the expense of Germany. If I want Germans to keep helping my people, what imply myself, and add Poland to the heap, I have no moral option but to allow Germans a greater say in EU policy. Or they would be foolish not to go their own way, letting us in disarray since we are not really independent actors.


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