Sunday, April 10, 2005

Plan B is Plan A

"Europe is fast heading towards a denouement," writes Bill Jamieson in The Business and, in the even of the constitution being rejected, asks if there is a "Plan B", what is it, and who's got it?

Answering his own question, he ponders whether there is a need for a formalised alternative Plan B? We have, after all, been here before with "crisis in Europe", he adds, continuing:

And at all previous points of "crisis", a miraculous last-minute formula has appeared, an escape hatch opened or solution found. The cause of EU integration is akin to the robotic monster in those violent Terminator films: no matter how much punishment it takes, no matter that its arms have been chopped off and the legs shattered, the robot keeps getting up and moving on through.

The cause of European integration is akin to this Nice in 2001 saw a crisis bulldozed through. EU budget scandals and fraud exposures make no difference. French intransigence over the services directive is seen as "just one of those things" that won't stand in the way of greater political integration.

The resilience of the EU project, its ability to recover from each successive failure and carry on, should not be under-estimated. Setbacks make no difference. Indeed, they only feed the rhetorical clamour for redoubled advance. So, even if the EU Constitution is rejected in the next two months, is a Plan B really necessary? Why not just carry on with Plan A as if nothing had happened?
Now it just so happens that Dave, over at North Sea Diaries Blog has spotted an absolute corker in a recent EU parliament report, produced by MEP, Elmar Brok member of the European Peoples' Party (EPP).

Responding to the European Council's annual report on defence and security, this report expresses the view that the spirit (and substance) of the provisions of the constitution regarding CFSP:

...should be applied as of now, as has already been done with the setting-up of the European Defence Agency, the "Battle Group" concept, the establishment of the developed EU Neighbourhood Policy, which should be far more significant than the present Neighbourhood Policy, and the application of the Solidarity Clause to counter terrorist threats or attacks.
He goes on to elaborate on this in the explanatory note, stating that, "From the rapporteur's point of view therefore most, if not, all, of the above-mentioned improvements both in the CFSP and ESDP field should, as from now, be already taking effect, at least in political terms, without waiting for the formal ratification of the Constitutional Treaty."

In other words, Plan B, in the event that the constitution is not ratified, is to carry on as if it had been ratified. Plan B is Plan A.

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