Tuesday, June 14, 2005

The wreckage (Part 2)


Timothy Garton Ash in What is to be done (His pre-referendum piece was published in both The Guardian and Le Monde; again, the last time this happened to my knowledge was on the occasion of the US election.) :
There are formal, political and democratic arguments for this otherwise slightly surreal commitment to go on riding a dead horse. The formal one is that the treaty provides for everyone to go ahead and ratify. If 20 out of the 25 member states have done so, but up to five have not, it then goes back to EU leaders next autumn, and the European council must decide how to proceed. The political one is that we don't want a Europe where all countries are equal but some are more equal than others. If Denmark says no, that's a problem for Denmark, but if France says no, that's a problem for Europe. Small countries must have their say as well.
He is rather less kind to Dominique de Villepin than I was, describing his choice as prime minister as 'disastrous'.
In the German elections this autumn, the Christian Democrats' Angela Merkel is likely to win. If de Villepin fails, Chirac may finally be compelled to call on his arch-rival Nicolas Sarkozy. Sarkozy gave a fascinating response to the referendum result in which, while speaking the language of social Europe, he effectively called for radical reform. "We must," he said, "give to our social model the reality which it has lost."
Compare 'Faut-il considérer, avec Nicolas Sarkozy, que la victoire du non impose des réformes "vigoureuses", que l'on ne pourra sauver le "modèle social" français [qu']en le réformant en profondeur ?' (J-M Colombani). Garton Ash continues, 'Blair's objective should be that, under next year's Austrian presidency, the EU comes up with proposals which bear a strong resemblance, in substance though not in rhetoric, to his own.' The only problem with this is that 2 years is not much time for de Villepin to fail in. Sarkozy, though,  is looking a reasonable bet for President in 2007. Francois Hollande seems to be somewhat lacking in charisma and the the chances are that Lionel Jospin will come out of retirement to be main candidate on the Left (again).
 
Going back to the attitude of the US neo-conservatives, much of this may have been based on ignorance. Emmanuel again:
Evidemment, on peut quand même se poser des questions sur le sens tactique de la faction conservatrice. S'ils avaient ne serait-ce qu'une once de connaissance de l'état de l'opinion européenne en général, et de l'opinion française en particulier, ils auraient dû pousser de toutes les forces pour que Bush soutienne la constitution, et le plus clairement possible.
Quite. The term 'neo-conservatives' is much misused, anyway, people forgetting that it covers a wide spectrum of opinion. (Some like Michael Ledeen, after all, opposed the Iraq war, seeing Iran as the bigger enemy, whereas the actual policy followed always implied some sort of accommodation with Iran.) Paul Wolfowitz (see here), for one, has always been clear-thinking in favour of Turkey joining the EU (and Ukraine having the prospect?).
Sur le plan politique, le seul objectif, c'est un nouvel élargissement. La Roumanie et la Bulgarie sont dans les tuyaux, ça devrait passer. Mais après, c'est la Turquie, l'Ukraine, les Balkans. Là franchement, je vois mal comment un référendum français pourrait le permettre", pointe [Yves] Mény. ("La construction européenne dans une crise sans précédent", Le Figaro, mardi 31 mai 2005 - DSK, Jan | mai 31, 2005 04:04 PM )
Jack Straw, interviewed on the BBC, said he had managed to keep some references to Turkey in the communiqué that the EU Foreign Ministers issued, Monday, in spite of  some states not wanting to mention Turkey at all, mindful that it had been a factor, if not the largest, in rejections of the constitution.

Finally, SIAW warned, 'The European left may then find, too late, that putting up with the EU would have been preferable to witnessing, again from the sidelines, the unfolding of lethal competition between two nuclear-armed superpowers...'  By the way, I am mentioned (but not linked to) by them here, I've just found out.

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