Tuesday, 21 April 2009

USA & EU: Fathers founding and confounding

Tony Barber wrote The EU, the US founding fathers and the “last word” on the FT Brussels blog (20 April 2009) as if astonished that the Treaty of Lisbon could not and should not be the last word on EU reform.

The difference between America and Europe is that the US founding fathers wrote one unworkable blueprint, the Articles of Confederation, before they agreed on a robust Constitution a decade later. Fast learners with guts.

The European member states have tinkered with reform since 1950, and have achieved volumes of rules and exceptions. They are still a long way from a union either effective or democratic, although the European Union is exceptional among treaty based international organisations.

Individual leaders of EU member states have said that the European Union should take a break from institutional reform after the Treaty of Lisbon, but I am not aware of any solemn promises binding on the EU.

Anyway, to give such assurances would be stupid, especially if the leaders have analysed the shape of world affairs.

In effect a promised moratorium would be an undertaking to let Europe continue its slide into oblivion from the world scene. Well, it would not be the first former great civilisation in world history to do so (normally unwittingly), but is that in the interest of EU citizens?

Credit to Andrew Duff for stating the obvious.

Ralf Grahn