Wednesday, 6 June 2007

What did Monnet do?

EUlawblogger’s “Response to the Grahnlaw blog” was an interesting and fair presentation of his or her reasons. They enrich the discussion on EU treaty reform, even if we do not have shared views on everything.

I think that my previous post “Two basic approaches” already shed some light on our underlying assumptions about the “Whys” of European integration.

Thus, only a few minor points.

My conclusions about EUlawblogger’s preference for inter-governmental wrangling came from wording on the IGC and the “failure” of the Convention method. Happily, neither of us is a fan of secretive Treaty amendment.

I was intrigued by the question: What did Monnet do in the same situation?

Perhaps I should have caught the drift better, but what I did remember was the following: Jean Monnet nurtured close relations with the USA and the UK. He would have wanted to see Great Britain within the European Coal and Steel Community, and later the European Economic Community. Since the UK governments were not ready to participate, the six willing states became founders of the communities.

(To be sure, I then checked Jean Monnet: Mémoires 2. Livre de Poche, 1976, page 671. Monnet remembers how he had travelled to London in 1950 to try to persuade the British to join the negotiations on the Schuman plan, and now, in 1957, he tried to rally Britain to join the talks which would lead to the Rome treaties.)

Am I to infer that the willing and able have to advance, even if a valuable European player lacks the inclination?

Why did my blog only mention the UK?

“The UK is standing out as the most difficult member state with its long list of parts of the constitution it wants revised”, wrote Simon Taylor on on 31 May 2007. This perception has been fairly common, both before and after that.

Blog posts are usually more like snippets of information than treatises. Topicality is one reason to choose a specific theme at a certain time.

One would not have to go very far back to find my views on president Sarkozy’s economic reforms, for instance. I reported on Prodi’s and Balkenende’s speeches in the European Parliament on grahnlaw.

Formerly, on other fora, I have covered the challenges of globalisation, the French referendum, the German coalition government’s programme, the WTO Doha round, Gordon Brown’s views on CAP reform, and the EU’s failed Lisbon strategy, to name a few.

Political union aside, many would find quite a lot of similarities between (broadly) British views and mine.

I am not going to make binding promises concerning when to discuss the Polish and Czech governments, but I do see that they seem to lack some of the European spirit I would welcome everywhere.

Ralf Grahn