The original delegates to the Convention which spent eighteen months drawing up the draft EU Constitution, delivering it last June, got together again last Friday in Brussels. Their meeting was of course in the shadow of the climactic European summit of heads-of-government coming up fast next weekend, which is supposed to round off the EU’s Intergovernmental Conference (IGC) and coming up with a final constitutional document on which all member-states (current and future) can agree. The theme of their meeting: “What have you done to our work?!” Or, to use some French: “What’s with all the détricotage?” or “unravelling,” the way you would maliciously pick apart someone else’s carefully-done knitting. That was the formulation of their leader at the Convention, France’s Valéry Giscard d’Estaing, who was there to address them and articulate where the Convention thinks that the IGC has gotten it wrong. This is covered in two articles out of the French on-line press, whose titles are eloquent in themselves: Giscard Tries to Save His Constitution, in Le Figaro, and “Better No Constitution Than a Mutilated Constitution” (that’s a quote, and not just Giscard’s), in Libération. (more…)
Our old/new friend Christophe Châtelot, correspondent in Poland for Le Monde, is back at work, with an interesting new article (pointed out to me by EuroSavant habitué Chris K.), Two Hundred Polish Personalities Are Ready to Sacrifice for Europe. The brief piece concentrates on the 23-year-old figure of Slawomir Sierakowski, editor-in-chief of the quarterly review Krytyka polityczna, or “Political Critique.” Mr. Sierakowski is against the “Nice or Death” approach to the Intergovernmental Conference (IGC) on the EU Constitution adopted by, according to him, “the [Polish] political and media establishment.” (For those coming in late, you can find €S background on “Nice or Death” here.) He says such an approach is likely to result in “a strong Poland within a weak EU,” a result he rejects. For good measure, he also considers unnecessary any explicit reference to the Christian faith in the Constitution’s preamble – not because he considers Christian values unimportant, but because he wants a Europe founded upon the widest base of values, and mentioning Christianity specifically could repel others or make them feel excluded.
To put these sentiments into action, Sierakowski drew up and publicized “an open letter to European opinion” (reproduced and discussed here, but in Polish; maybe I’ll translate it later, it’s not that long). He managed to gain the support (i.e. signatures) of around 200 other Polish intellectuals. And for many inside and outside of Poland, mainly those who earnestly hope that a final-form European Constitution can be agreed upon at the IGC, and who suspect Poland’s approach to that conference to be a mite unyielding and hard-core, this is a welcome gesture.
But will it have any true reverberations on the government, so that the Polish negotiating position is actually modified in some way? Or is just the combined voice of 200 Polish intellectuals crying out of the wilderness, so that “Nice or Death” is, so to speak, still alive and well? I went looking for an answer in the Polish on-line press. (more…)
Returning to Die Zeit – truly an excellent commentary newspaper, and very generous with what it’s willing to post on-line! – the article in its latest (on-line) issue (Der letzte Gipfel – “The Last Summit”) shows that the future which the EU has feared for so long has now arrived – whether it’s ready for it or not. (more…)
I’m continuing my coverage of the EU draft constitution, which was handed over last Friday by European Convention President Valéry Giscard d’Estaing to EU member-states at the Thessaloniki European summit. Now it’s in their hands, to add to and subtract from as they see fit to agree (doing so formally in an Intergovernmental Conference which is due to start in mid-October), in preparation for ratification by all member-states separately in the spring of 2004. Considering now some of the German-speaking parts of Europe, reception of the draft here has been mixed – although, crucially, German Bundeskanzler Gerhard Schröder has endorsed it. (more…)
With the presentation last Friday to the EU summit in Thessaloniki of the draft EU Constitution, the work of the European Convention headed by Valéry Giscard d’Estaing came to an end. Now the text is in the hands of the national governments of EU member-states, which will formally begin negotiations over changes to that draft at the EU Intergovernmental Conference to begin in the middle of next October. (more…)
Yes, the draft EU Constitution was presented yesterday by Constitutional Convention President Valéry Giscard d’Estaing to the EU summit in Thessaloniki. It’s an important, interesting, and detailed step – although EuroSavant did cover in the last weekend in May the initial unveiling of that draft Constitution that occurred then. (Starting here with reactions from the EU member which paid the most attention to it – the UK.) In any case, apparently there were some (minor?) changes made to that draft between then and its formal, final presentation to EU leaders this weekend. Plus, it will be interesting to see how countries are lining up for and against that draft Constitution, in the run-up to the EU Intergovernmental Conference (IGC) in which member-states will negotiate changes to this draft on the way to a final version of the Constitution which will then be put up for approval by all EU states (of which there will be 25 by that point). That IGC is supposed to convene next October, and it’s supposed to finish its work by December. (Good luck!)
This certainly merits some investigation, and that will be forthcoming. For this weekend, though, what caught my eye was the continuing Belgian-American tension over the former’s “genocide law” – see tomorrow’s weblog entry.
To round out our survey of initial national press reactions to the draft EU constitution unveiled for the public this past week, today we examine selections from out of the German press. (more…)
Returning to its non-English-language roots, EuroSavant today examines reactions to the unveiling of the draft EU constitution on the Continent (or “in Europe,” as certain British newspapers are wont to call that land mass stretching out on the other side of the Channel – as if they don’t happen to be part of it, legally, administratively, and even historically). And yes, loyal and long-standing €S readers, we first consider France. Surely there everyone is firmly on the side of Valéry Giscard d’Estaing, the Constitutonal Convention’s president, and his draft document. (more…)
Today’s subject is the new EU constitution, which was released to the public this past week in four installments, and specifically about the reaction in the country where that has been most vociferous – namely the United Kingdom. Yes, this once again means a weblog entry that belies EuroSavant’s self-description as “Commentary on the European non-English-language press.” But the unveiling of the EU Constitutional Convention’s draft constitution has converged with an outbreak of public discussion over British adoption of the euro – ahead of Chancellor of the Exchequer Gordon Brown’s speech scheduled for June 9 as to whether the country is at the stage where a referendum over the euro would be appropriate – to produce some truly noteworthy reporting and commentary to which I thought I would draw your attention. Even NATO does not escape unscathed. (more…)