Wednesday, July 07, 2004

Be under no illusions

The constitutional treaty – if it is ever ratified – will need revision long before Giscard's famous 50 years. That is the view of two experts invited by The Centre for European Policy Studies (CEPS) to discuss the treaty.

The two experts, Ben Crum from the University of Amsterdam and Giovanni Grevi from the European Policy Centre, were asked to provide a first assessment of the new treaty on 5th July. Grevi, in particular, took the view that the treaty was "too rigid" to last for fifty years, and would need revision in the next ten years.

As an illuminating aside, Grevi also commented on the "democratic deficit", and argued that the election of top EU officials through a democratic mass process together with an improved communication policy and media engagement in Europe could help diminish the information gap.

Like so many of his ilk, the man confuses form with substance, believing that a democratic process – such as elections – necessarily confers democracy on an institution. He also makes the fatal error of asserting that the democratic status of the institution can be improved by increasing the availability of information.

In our experience, there is no shortage of information – as this Blog readily demonstrates. What is missing is the ability of ordinary people to have any influence of the process of government.

However, the important thing that emerges from this exchange of "experts" is further confirmation that EU insiders already believe that a new treaty will be necessary shortly after the constitutional treaty has been ratified (if that happens).

This conforms with the views expressed by Dominique Strauss-Kahn in his report on "Building a Political Europe" (see link on the sidebar), where the current treaty is regarded as the beginning rather than the end of the process of political integration.

If this constitutional treaty is ratified, therefore, be under no illusions that this will be the end of the matter.

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