June 13, 2008
Here we go again. There are no new lessons to be learned. We already knew that the referendum is not an appropriate mechanism for approving a complex treaty. We already knew that the European Union has not successfully been ‘sold’ to its citizens. We already knew that a veto is unacceptable in a union of 27.
The only sensible referendum question is: ‘Do you wish to stay within the EU with the new treaty, or leave the Union?’
What now? It is too soon to express any firm opinion. There appear to be three choices:
- Forget the treaty and carry out such reforms as do not require a new treaty.
- Agree a declaration to satisfy Irish concerns and hold a second referendum.
- Find a way of proceeding without Ireland.
France and Germany have already made clear that they regard the new treaty as a necessity. We have to wait for next week’s summit to see which course is likely to be adopted.
Sadly, this is a psychological setback and affects the EU’s standing abroad. It also weakens the Union, so badly needed as the main challenges facing Member States cannot be resolved at national level.
It is about time that national leaders told their citizens the truth about the EU and why it is needed. To the leaders this requires the unpalatable admission that more national economic and social policy is determined in Brussels than in national capitals.Author : Stanley Crossick