Friday, October 29, 2004

Mission Impossible?

That is the Scotsman headline on today’s event in Rome – the signing of the EU constitution – I refuse to call it the "European" constitution. And the impossible mission? The EU is launching a campaign to be loved.

As EU leaders prepare to sign their dire document, they look around the continent and see popular sentiment tending to indifference and even hostility. And they’re beginning to realise that some salesmanship may be needed to keep the project on course.

That job will fall to Margot Wallström, who will eventually be in the hot seat as communications commissioner

But already, national leaders are making their pitch. Bertie Ahern, Irish president and midwife to the treaty, is telling his people that the constitution is "a good deal for Europe and a good deal for Ireland", exactly the same phrasing used by Blair, so the colleagues must have worked out a common pitch.

With that, the Irish government has been quick off the mark, launching a pamphlet and guidebook in Dublin to explain what the constitution would mean for Ireland. Ahern is telling the media that a well-informed debate was needed ahead of a referendum, something which he cannot mean, otherwise the Irish, like everyone else, would kick the constitution into touch.

Meanwhile, Steven Everts, senior research Fellow at the London-based Centre for European Reform, points to the Europhiles having a hard time of it. It is not so much the constitution, he says, but the very idea that Brussels technocrats are making important decisions without consulting ordinary people that has alienated many Europeans.

"The anti-Europeans’ most persuasive claim is that the EU is an elite project over which ’the people’ have virtually no influence," he adds.

One day dismal little cretins like Everts will realise that what really pisses off most of us is his fatuous labelling of the citizens of the many proud nation states of Europe as "Europeans" and the mindless insistence that anyone against their beloved project is "anti-European".

But then, I suppose, if these people had enough brain cells to understand that, they would not be in favour of the project in the first place.

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