Wednesday, April 27, 2005

The cat is out of the bag

All you have to do is watch and listen and, eventually, the truth will out.

According to that bastion of transparency, the Chinese on-line press agency Xinhuanet, Chirac and Schröder met yesterday for the 5th Franco-German cabinet meeting devoted to the EU constitution and bilateral industrial cooperation. And what they had to say was very interesting indeed.

In their joint statement, they reaffirmed "their belief that when the constitutional treaty comes into effect, it will be an important step in terms of asserting Europe's weight in the international arena and reinforcing its ability to act for peace and security in the world."

Their statement added: "Our two countries are pleased that, for the first time in the history of the European Union, the community of fate between the member states will be embodied in a constitution," and then offered the "killer" point: The constitution will help reinforce "the sphere of activity of European defence through the expansion of the scope of the Union's missions."

You could not get any clearer than that – the EU constitution is intended (and does) to strengthen an independent EU military capability. Blair, when he talks about this issue, is always careful to make some reference to Nato, but nothing of this from the Franco-German duo.

For those who had any doubts, le chat is definitely out of le sac.

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