Saturday, June 12, 2004

Another day, another draft

Irish presidency issues a new constitutional draft

Just to remind people (and myself) that there is life outside the election bubble, the Irish presidency have issued yet another of its constitutional drafts, in preparation for the final pre-summit meeting of foreign ministers in Brussels click here.

In the 75-page document, much of what was objectionable in the earlier drafts survives with only minor textual amendments. For instance, the European parliament still retains its veto on the EU budget. Also, by virtue of what appears to be a new declaration on Article III-308 (page 22), there is an inbuilt ratchet effect which can be used to prevent member states ever reducing the budget from whatever level has been set previously.

The European Union foreign minister still presides over the foreign affairs council, and there are still plans to set up a full-blown EU diplomatic service under the control of this minister. There is a nasty little addition (p. 31) which gives power to Eurojust for the "Coordination of investigations and prosecutions...", effectively putting Eurocops in charge of a whole tranche of criminal law, and the previous deleted Article on energy seems to be back in.

To cap it all, there is a protocol on "permanent structured co-operation" (pp. 36-38). To my reading, this is the basis for setting up a standing European Union Army - unless you think differently.

If Blair signs this, as it stands, he will not so much be giving up his "red lines" as shredding them and stitching them into a white flag.

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