Friday, 23 November 2007

European Union of minds?

Politicians with severe symptoms of reform fatigue have hailed the Reform Treaty or Lisbon Treaty as a victory for the European Union, prepared themselves for parliamentary ratification in most member states and vowed to dedicate their efforts to more rewarding causes for a long time to come.

In Poland a new government promises to become a more constructive team player than its predecessor and a new Danish government is thinking about a referendum on abolishing opt-outs from the treaties. In France and in the Netherlands the main parties look set to choose parliamentary ratification, although there are pockets of resistance with roots in the no-camps of the 2005 referendum campaigns.

In contrast, British media, public opinion, the Conservatives and campaigners seem to continue in the vein of Groucho Marx: Please accept my resignation. I don’t want to belong to any club that will accept me as a member.

Even the UK government seems to laud what it managed to scrap of its 2004 signature, what it did not sign up to now and what sets Britain apart from the other members of the club. What is Britain’s role in Europe going to be? Even after Gordon Brown’s and David Miliband’s speeches we cannot be sure.

Is there going to be a meeting of minds any time soon?

Ralf Grahn