In the IHT today, a piece attributed to the Associated Press tells us that a senior German official has warned that time is running out to rescue the EU constitution. Furthermore, he says, his country, which assumes the EU presidency in January, is at a loss how to keep "the ambitious project" on the rails.
The official is Germany's ambassador to the European Union, Wilhelm Schoenfelder. He says the EU has until December 2007 to resolve the issue if the constitution is to take effect by mid-2009 as planned. "If we do not succeed this time, this thing will be dead. We'll be in a very deep crisis," he says.
We get a slightly different picture from David Rennie, who writes that Germany yesterday unveiled "a master plan" for resurrecting the constitution. This, he tells us, sets the stage for a pitched political battle "with Britain pushed firmly into the front lines".
Elsewhere in his newspaper, though, we see a headline, "Flatulence forces plane to divert". For a moment there, I thought this was about the EU… but then, it is only a matter of time. And, in that mean-time, we hear that the Finnish parliament has approved the EU constitution.
There was once a time when we might have cared enough to laugh...