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Reader feedback: Recipe for disaster

Re: EU Constitution ratified, Volume 11, Number 19, May 16 - May 22, 2005

I did download and read a condensed version of the Constitution a while ago and I don't remember being shocked or outraged by it. Some of the things, like qualified majority voting, reducing the number of commissioners and having a full-time president, seemed very sensible if you want the European project to avoid being mired in deadlocked negotiations. Mind you, that's quite a big "if" and I'm not sure that people are ready for the European project to get teeth just yet.

I think the first mistake was to give the people drafting the constitution too big a brief. They had to say what Europe is, integrate the new members (wasn't this originally supposed to be ready before Slovakia et al. joined?) and fix all sorts of little bureaucratic things. That was a recipe for disaster. The second mistake was the marketing: to say "trust us" just when trust was at an all time low.

If I was in charge of this thing, I'd call the whole thing off, get a new team to write a short minimum constitution, which includes only what everyone agrees on (rather than millions of things where each person can say they have their "bit") and then use that as a basis to start building again. I think a United States of Europe will come, but not this time around.


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