Despite Charlemagne’s notebook, the UK government has done European public debate a service by backing Tony Blair for the post of President of the European Council.
Julien Frisch and The European Citizen are among the many who have contributed actively.
What has Tony Blair’s done for the evolving core areas of EU action?
1) A European Union speaking with one voice in the world. Moves to achieve a coherent and consistent European common foreign and security policy (CFSP) and common security and defence policy (CSDP), away from solo flying by individual member states (including the UN Security Council, international orgnisations and relations with the USA). A proven commitment to a common European defence, in alliance with NATO, but not subservient to the United States.
2) The Schengen agreement abolishing border controls between the member states.
3) Adoption or at least the clear commitment to adopt the common currency (euro).
4) Justice and home affairs: Full participation in the area of freedom, security and justice.
5) The EU Charter of Fundamental Rights.
6) Driving force or brake during the treaty reform process of the European Union since the December 2000 European Council in Nice?
Even if the Lisbon Treaty enters into force, the pre-democratic European Union will continue to be a “hobbled giant”. Effective action and democratic legitimacy require profound reform, leading to a union based on its citizens.
Deals behind closed doors are possible only if the members of the European Council feel that EU citizens are not alienated enough from their project.
The British government has promoted an open debate. It is time for the Swedish Council Presidency to set the ground rules for open nominations and public debate on the top posts and between the candidates.