Thursday, May 13, 2004

The gap widens

Sources: AFP, Malta di-ve

Following our story Poland not in the bag, Cimoszewicz has now told his own parliament that a deal has not yet been finalised on the EU constitution . "From our standpoint the proposals that we are discussing and other suggestions do not constitute the basis of an agreement," he told the MPs. "I cannot confirm that Polish proposals have been met with universal approval."

Meanwhile, Ahern, thrashing around the southern fringes of the EU empire in an attempt to drum up support for this rapidly failing venture, has come up against unexpected resistance in Malta. There, the government of a largely Catholic nation – no doubt under instructions from the Vatican - is insisting on a reference to the EU's Christian heritage being included in the constitution.

The hapless Ahern found himself addressing a joint press conference together with the Prime Minister of Malta Lawrence Gonzi at Auberge de Castille, telling the assembled hacks that he did not see any possibility of reaching a compromise between all the countries on this issue.

All he could do was “try to ensure” that under the Irish Presidency, the EU reached a consensus on the EU constitution. With what seems to be more than a hint of desperation, he concluded, “What we want to achieve is enormously important for the people of Europe and for their future”.

Chirac and Schröder, on the other hand, seem to be content to inhabit their own private little planet. After their love-in today at the Elysée Palace, they came out beaming, to declare their confidence in the “project”.

"I can't imagine that the constitution, this important work of European unification, might not be approved" by parliamentary vote or referendum in EU member states, Schröder told a joint press conference, demonstrating that, in and amongst his other many failures, he was also a man of very little imagination.

It what rapidly became an epidemic of imagination failure, Chirac chipped in with the royal “we”, adding, "We can't imagine that such a situation would occur." Schröder then capped it all by saying that, "We must devote all of our energy to help ensure that these referendums pass”, which is a bit rich when neither he nor Chirac – yet – are having referendums.

Completing the grand tour of political fantasy, and therefore qualifying for (or as) le premier prix, Chirac closed by deciding that an agreement on the constitution before next month's summit was "possible and desirable". “We” have spoken. But what about the people?

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