CAP Research File

In the internal political life of the EU the Common Agricultural Policy seems guaranteed to hold and maintain pride of place as the topic which produces the highest level of acrimony and vitriol per paragraph of debate space. It has also featured of late as the hotspot which lead to the summer low-point in Franco-British relations. Yet while the debate is strong on heat, it is often poor on detailed information. A report whose final draft is being made available to a wider public this week may help to do something to remedy this failing.
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Keeping Tabs on the Constitution

The Center for Applied Policy Research (CAP) has put up a page detailing the steps on the way to ratification for the European constitution. Green, yellow and red lights mark the status in each country, and the chart can be viewed by country name or by ratification date. Unfortunately, the page is only available in a German version. (Full disclosure: I used to work at the CAP and still count a number of their projects as clients. But don’t think that means I will be able to persuade them to put up an English version.)

Fortunately, the Commission has done something roughly similar. Its page features an interactive map along with the expected list. The CAP’s commentary is more interesting, as might be expected. The Commission has also posted a version in French.

One of the CAP’s experts told me last week that the only significant problem for the constitution is the UK. Sentiments in France appear to be moving in favor of ratification. The other big and medium countries are also expected to have relatively easy paths toward ratification. And as for the smaller ones, well, it’s not like Malta would be truly missed if it opted to leave the Union.

But the UK is another matter. Not only politically and economically significant for the EU, but also home to one of the few fundamental debates about the Union. Normally this is a handicap, but in this case it will air essential issues in a way that probably hasn’t been done since the UK originally voted to join. This will probably be a real roller coaster ride.