Friday, October 22, 2004

Oh my, another summit!

This one is a biggie. Well, relatively so, anyway. Once upon a time there used to be two EU summits a year, one at the end of each presidency. Then they started having unofficial summits, about half-way through each six-month session. These were so unofficial that they had no conclusions and no reports back to Parliament.

As time went on, these unofficial summits, called because something unexpected has cropped up that just had to be discussed by every head of government of every EU member state at the taxpayers’ expense, became more official. Somehow, imperceptibly, the two annual summits have now turned into four, and in the proposed Constitution, that number is set down as the one required for proper governance. Presumably, the next stage will be when unofficial summits will happen between the mid-term and end of term summits and, before we know where we are, there will be six or eight summits a year. Where will it stop?

There is a mid-term summit coming up on November 4 – 5, conveniently for those of us who are looking for a new and more modern guy for our bonfires, in Brussels. The agenda does not explain why it is necessary. According to the newsletter of the European Parliament, which informs us that the MEPs will be discussing the various items,
“Top of the agenda is immigration and asylum policy. Other issues include: review of the Lisbon strategy for making Europe the most competitive economy in the world by 2010; impact assessments of EU laws; enlargement of the EU (concerns Romania, Bulgaria, Croatia and Turkey); and a strategy for 'communicating Europe' and its relevance to citizens' daily lives.”
Gosh, that is so exciting. Really worth spending hundreds of thousands of pounds in administrative and security costs.

Immigration and asylum was discussed last week by the interior ministers and no agreement was reached; the Lisbon agenda has not, despite a great deal of talk, been getting anywhere and the notion of the EU becoming even remotely competitive, let alone the most competitive economy (and is it one economy, anyway?) is a joke; enlargement will either happen or, most likely, not, after many years of negotiation (at least 10 in the case of Turkey, if agreement is reached at the real summit in December); and those communication strategies come up every few months with no particular outcome, since everyone has long ago realized that to promote the European project, information about it should be reduced to a minimum. But hey, it's a summit.

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