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July 13, 2005

A Nice Cup Of Tea For The EU

My faithful former assistant Shadya Yazback sent me an email saying this was too good to not post.  She's right.  From BBC News:

Asked if the "Yes" vote [on the EU constitution] was like giving a dead person a vaccination, [Luxembourg's foreign minister] said Europe had had a bad cold but the people of Luxembourg had given it a nice cup of tea with a drop of honey, and the patient was now getting better.

That certainly warmed the souls of some:

European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said he welcomed the result with "great satisfaction".

[Luxembourg] Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker, who said he would resign if there was a "No" vote, said it proved the treaty was not dead...

In his first public reaction to the result, Mr Juncker said: "It is the expression of the popular will of a small state but a great nation. This vote was every bit as important as those in France and the Netherlands.

"If Luxembourg had voted 'No', Europe would be in an ultra-serious crisis. With this vote we are still in a crisis but a crisis which lets some signs of optimism appear on the horizon."

Mr Barroso said the vote sent out "a strong signal, because it means that a majority of member states consider that the constitutional treaty responds to their expectations by opening the way for a... stronger Europe on the world stage."

And there was this report from the Financial Times:

Germany is to step up pressure to save the European constitution after Luxembourg became the 13th out of 25 European Union member states to ratify the treaty. Berlin is determined to try to salvage the constitution, whose provisions include a new EU voting system which would give Germany a much greater say in decision-making.

You will not, however, be surprised to know that there are plenty who think this is pretty weak medicine.  The Financial Times article included this:

Many European diplomats believe the constitution will never be revived, following No votes in French and Dutch referendums in recent weeks.

... some EU diplomats wonder whether a French or Dutch government will ever submit the treaty for a second referendum. Even if they did, a second vote could be years away, and Mr Juncker has warned that nothing could happen before the next French presidential elections in 2007.

And there was this, from the first BBC News article...

There is strong pressure to adopt at least part of the constitution: a small treaty just changing the voting system, or countries giving the green light to a "European foreign minister" - all without a referendum.

Some conservatives in the European Parliament say already there are signs that the finances are being arranged for some bits and pieces being snuck in the back door.

In some countries this might be regarded as nothing more than "a tiding up exercise", to coin a phrase.

But among those who would have campaigned for a "No" in Britain it would be hugely controversial, and its hard to see how Tony Blair could sign up to it.

... and this from Edward Hugh at A Fistful of Euros:

Junker will soldier on as Prime Minister, and now someone else has to think up a good excuse for terminating the process, but that is about all you can say.

(That last comment gives me the opportunity to direct your attention to AFOE for outstanding coverage of, and commentary on, the murderous assaults in London and their aftermath. It also gives me the opportunity to belatedly offer my deepest sympathies and prayers to the victims -- which ultimately includes every decent person on earth.)

July 13, 2005 in Europe | Permalink


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