Friday, April 23, 2004

No "plan B" for the constitution

Reported by Agence France Presse (23 April 2004) the EU has no back-up plan for the constitution if it is rejected by any member states, according to Brian Cowen, Irish foreign minister.

After Irish voters rejected the EU's Nice enlargement treaty in a referendum in October 2002, "we produced our plan B, which was a blank sheet of paper," he told reporters.

"The plan B for the aftermath of the constitutional treaty under our presidency is also a blank sheet of paper. It's the same piece, I have it at home", Cowen joked after meeting his Danish counterpart, Stig Moller.

Despite this, Cowen is bullish about the constitution's prospects. "People who talk about plan B are really failing to understand what all the ambition and effort of what we are trying to do is all about," he said.

"We are geared to success. We have made a commitment to succeed. This treaty will be brought to the people with all the benefits, all the balances and all the possibilities that it will provide, as previous treaties have done.

"And I am sorry, I am not prepared to accept that this is a process geared to failure or rejection, because there will be so much in this treaty when we agree."

Moller agreed that it was pointless to begin planning for rejection. "It's impossible to have a plan B, because this treaty gives us the rules of the game and you can't opt out the rules of the game," he said.

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