Friday, March 25, 2005

The (Single European) fat lady hasn’t sung yet

Despite Chirac's triumphalism over his "victory" on the services directive, we did suggest that the game was far from over.

That much seems to be endorsed by today’s report in The Times today, which suggests that Blair is planning a reprisal for Chirac's coup.

The report is in part based on Blair's report to Parliament on the European Council, when he told MPs that France would ultimately be outvoted on the issue. His vision of a liberalised EU jobs and services market had been backed in private discussions by "many other EU governments", he said, and would eventually prevail.

While l'escroc was boasting to his Cabinet that the so-called Bolkestein directive had "enabled me to show how Europe really works", Blair on the other hand was reminding MPs that "the final decision will be by qualified majority voting".

Chirac was telling his Cabinet that: "The Commission proposes, but the Council, which is to say the member states, takes the decisions." He made no mention of QMV and, of course, the Council is not "the member states" but an EU institution.

Much of Chirac's posturing, however, is almost certainly for domestic consumption, aimed at getting him past the crucial 29 May vote, but one wonders whether l'escroc has really got a handle on things.

Nevertheless, supporters of the beleaguered "yes" campaign in the French referendum say that the wind had shifted in their favour after what they saw as a robust demonstration by Chirac that France could still impose its will on a union that France deems to be dominated by Britain.

Francois Hollande, the Socialist leader, whose party is officially campaigning for a "yes" vote, said: "He should have done that a long time ago and we would not have had all the confusion." The "no" camp, however, merely mocked Chirac, stating that he had only achieved a delay in the progress of the directive.

They, like the rest of us, know the Single European Fat Lady hasn't sung yet.

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