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Posted by Richard Sunday, December 05, 2004

Another story in The Business today, which is packed with more news about EU issues than the rest of the Sunday broadsheets combined – is a story that has been doing the rounds about a speech made by the egregious Denis MacShame to students in Durham.

First aired in the Daily Mail last week, MacShame was caught on tape declaring that the chancellor's famous "five tests" for joining the euro were a "red herring" to be cast aside whenever it was politically expedient. But what also set the tongues wagging was an admission by MacShame that the EU constitution was likely to be the first in several steps of European integration.

It is indeed helpful to have confirmation of this from MacShame but what is a tad surprising is that anyone should have thought this was something new.

Not least, that intent was made clear by the Constitutional Affairs Committee of the EU Parliament last week but, more specifically, this was spelt out in detail by Dominic Strauss-Kahn, last April, in a report commissioned by Prodi called "Building a Political Europe". There is also a link on our sidebar to this.

Interestingly, The Business cites Neil O'Brien of the "Yes-No" campaign (aka "Vote No") who says that MacShame's "candour" had given them "enough ammunition to fill a whole campaign". What O'Brien would make of Strauss-Kahn's report, heavens only knows.