I’ve been away in Sweden for Midsommar, but have been reflecting on the Treaty compromise while sat on the plane back to London. Overall the actual result could have been a lot worse – the main elements of the Constitution have been maintained. But I do wonder the price that will be paid for this agreement. The Poles backed down on voting weights, but the new system will happen from 2014 (rather than 2009). The British stuck in their heels over JHA matters and the Charter of Fundamental Rights (why do the Brits refuse rights for their citizens?), and could proclaim a ‘victory’. France managed to water down the text that stated a goal of the EU was free competition. The position of an EU Foreign Minister will effectively be created, but not in name. The EU will have a flag and an anthem, and its laws will still be supreme over national laws, but the Treaty will not say this.
In short we’re back to what we know and dislike: horse-trading deals akin to the negotiations over the Treaty of Nice. Everyone has a sour taste in their mouth after the negotiations are agreed, people (like me) who work with EU matters for a living get to grips with ever more complex procedures and exemptions, and the general population is left confused or angst-ridden, wondering what the hell is going on. Bring back Giscard and his Convention – all is forgiven.