Sunday, October 21, 2007

Strengthening Europe

The European Union has just agreed a new constitutional treaty, reforming its government structure, strengthening its Parliament, and binding it to core human rights standards. The treaty still has to be ratified by the member-states, at least one of which (Ireland) is planning a referendum, but that is expected to go smoothly. And so Europe's slow march towards confederacy continues...

There are downsides. There is still a democratic deficit, with too many decisions being made by the council of Ministers (representing the member-states) rather than the European Parliament (representing the people). The EU's new president, who will serve a two and a half year term, will be appointed by the member-states rather than subject to popular election (and France ahs gone so far as to suggest Tony Blair - a man whose reputation as a US toady, warmonger and war criminal means he would be universally rejected by the people of Europe - other than perhaps the Poles). And there are the usual exemptions and exclusions common to these deals - the UK, for example, has opted out of various provisions covering justice and human rights, for no apparent reason other than that they are European and therefore bad. But overall, this strengthens the European project, and it helps make Europe much more than just a trade deal. And that IMHO is a Good Thing.

More discussion on European Tribune here.