The Irish Times really surely cannot even begin to understand what makes people tick, if it thinks its latest piece about the EU is going to engender anything but a quiet rage in its many readers.
"In the future", its Brussels correspondent, Honor Mahoney, chirps, "Irish diplomats will be able to choose whether they want to work for the national service or opt for a European diplomatic service." She continues:
This new service, which only made it into the new European Constitution at the last minute, will back up the powerful EU foreign minister, who will be responsible for external representation of the Union - a wide-ranging brief that also covers trade and development.It seems that Solana, who will become the EU's foreign minister if (Mahoney writes "once") the constitution is in place, - at the earliest in 2006 - has already set up a task force to examine the issue.
He is acting, of course, in the interests of "efficiency" - the cry of the technocrat since before the word was even invented – having remarked that the around 40,000 "EU diplomats" (i.e., diplomats employed by member states), in comparison to the 10,000 US diplomats, have not made the EU four times more efficient.
The idea is to rationalise "EU external action", which at the moment, Mahoney reports, is a hotchpotch of national foreign ministries, Commission delegations, an EU foreign policy chief (responsible for diplomacy) and an EU external relations commissioner (responsible for aid).
But the real agenda, as always, is political integration. A strong EU foreign minister backed up by a large diplomatic service would, in the eyes of its advocates, "continue to bring foreign policies closer together".
All that remains is to sort out the incipient "turf war" between the Council, the European Commission and member-states, and the EU has another symbol of statehood, its own fully-fledged diplomatic euro-corps, working from the 128 Commission delegations already in place around the world.
And, despite the loft dismissals from Blair and his cronies, Mahoney reports that "talks are also under way to see if the EU could eventually have its own representation at the United Nations."
Considering all the sneering garbage we take from the Europhiles about the EU "not becoming a superstate", we really would like to see them explain this one away (notwithstanding that we see nothing "super" about this tawdry "state" the colleagues are building).