Is There a Plan B?

pr_599_britain_no.pdf (application/pdf Object)

As we are now seeing the one referendum on the Constitutional Treaty of the European Union after the other, it’s only natural that the question is asked what will happen if the one or the other country does not ratify the treaty.

The danger seems greatest in the United Kingdom, although it’s much too early to make any predictions on a referendum not likely to be held until Spring 2006 at the earliest.

Charles Grant of the Center for European Reforms has however tried to speculate on what might happen if Britain votes No. In essence, he sees a rather messy future in that case, with interest that are close to him – as well as me – likely to suffer and to be marginalized.

The link is to the press release which has just a summary of his arguments. I’m sure it’s worth reading in full.

11 Responses to Is There a Plan B?

  1. Anonymous skriver:

    Sounds good with an ‘explicit exit procedure’ that allows member states to leave the union. So it might be OK to join without a referendum, as we then have the opportunity to join a new Russian federal system instead, if EU gets to close to the US.

  2. Robert Daguillard skriver:

    Well, who is ”we” in this case, especially if you’re talking about joining a new ”Russian federal system?”

  3. Per Stromsjo skriver:

    What did you expect from an anonymous comment?

  4. Robert Daguillard skriver:


    in other words, you are assuming that public support for Membership in the European Union is directly related to public support for a President of the United States. Jacques Chirac would be a little astonished to hear that.

    Also, you assume that Germans would embrace far-reaching and extensive economic ties — that likely include increased labor mobility — with countries of the former Soviet Union. Meanwhile, you may have read that Germany’s Foreign Minister may very well lose his job because of the scandal over the abuse of German visas by Ukrainian human traffickers.

  5. Sven K skriver:

    My suggestions might have been a bit futuristic, but Europe seems as unpredictable as always, and you never know with Socialdemocrats, Chiraq and others.

  6. Magnus Andersson skriver:

    I think Bildt address a real threat, but whos problem? (Some politicians’? ”Unresponsible” idealists’?)

    Sven K: I think You may hav a bit too anarchistic view on the roll of the distinct, clearly stated political order for people to …live and work under. A lack of insight that the individual force itself not secure freedom and maybe the importance of some civil order to ensure absence of arbitrariness in the allways existing political power. (Chaos does not automatically produce a better political power. The contrary should be more common…)

    My thougts about EU:
    Although I am a bit concerned about the proposal for an EU constitution for which now a process of decision has started. Less veto and more majority decisions, and in further more areas, these now under the second and third pillar (although strong exception possibilities for the member states). Will we put more areas of politics under EU than US does under the federal state? The aim for a European state is however obvious in the new president as well as foreign minister positions.

    I also think that the proposal for constitution is bad written with respect to added normative social politics, that constitute a set of typical liberal welfare state isseus as well as some ”peripheral” political correct statements about e.g. a natural base for animal rights(!).

    (Is EU politicians light weight liberals that tries to make Europe a social liberal nirvana?)

    This combined with a bureaucracy that strives for more influence for its own sake and agressively wants no stop in the process to be involved in power makes me see no problems with the ”business as usual” case if the constitution is withdrawn by some EU member states.

    Aren´t there three cases? First a stronger integration with the aim of at real European (federal) state. (Is this the way the constitution ”points out”?)

    Second a confederation of free member states, only coordinize themselves in some solution of inter state cooperation. I think this not so much even should have enabled the Euro…

    The third alternative is to modify the solution we now have, with probably no very grand EU visions of one society but as a maybe tricky mixture of confederation and federation as it is today. Shouldn’t this alternative be a e.g. brittish – and maybe other member states’ – ”no” to the constitution? Then we are bound to adjust EU. Not so bad maybe?

    (However. I might exaggerate the importance of the lack of veto. The scope of the decision maybe limited as before and the states possibility of exception may be strengthen. But my position is grounded on my impression of EU politics as a whole. I support Euro and human rights, but seldom the EU translation of human rigths and definitely not the regulation and bureaucracy – as e.g. czech Vaclav Claus besides, I think, other new member state leader may dislike more than …the social liberal west?)

    I’m sorry, I have no spell check program (and my english…). But my integrity are …not so high? ;-)

  7. Tommy skriver:

    I make my living ”knowing stuff.”

    I have to admit I am a stupid American as it relates to this issue. And I know there are thousands of sub issues for each nation. But as a unified front the EU is a powerful force. As a guy sitting in St. Louis MO I am hoping for a powerful EU. There must be checks and balances in this world.

  8. Carl Bildt skriver:

    Just to note that there is a very good and brief guide to the Constitutional Treaty under ”Los Primeros con Europa”.

    Of course the Spanish referendum did support the Constitutional Treaty.

    A key aim of the Constitutional Treaty is to provide one document instead of the present situation in which we have the Treaty of Rome, Single European Act, Treaty of Maastricht, Treaty of Amsterdam and Treaty of Nice.

    The Constitutional Treaty consolidates them all into one treaty.

    That’s a good thing in itself.

    In addition, it brings some necessary improvements and streamlinings in decision making structures.

    That’s also highly necessary.

    And it gives greater weight and visibility to the Common Foreign and Security Policy.

    That’s also needed in the world of today.

  9. AndersJ skriver:

    Carl et al.,

    The treaty of Nice encapsulates all preceding treaties as well as the new provisions. It is, thus, the only piece of currently valid primary legislation in Europe. As far as I know, the Single European Act is, technically, superseded and no longer in force. So I hardly see legislative simplification as a compelling argument for the treaty.

    Given that the proposed constitution does only entail few major changes to the treaty and the current institutional set-up of the European Community, what is at stake here is much more the difference between an (inter-state) treaty and an (intra-state) constitution. This is the important point.

    Setting up a constitution would set the federal boulder in motion with the same inevitability as a (technically premature) currency union lays bare the need for controversial measures such as tax harmonization and fiscal policy coordination. Though an avid supporter of the European unification, I am afraid that using this ”back door” will back-fire. This, namely, is exactly why euro-skeptics all over our continent have a treasury of evidence for a surreptitious federalization spurred by a conniving Euro-phile elite.

  10. Robert Daguillard skriver:


    you say the European Constitution streamlines decision-making processes: Well, it does and doesn’t.

    You can speak in the affirmative if you look in the qualified-majority clause and the requirement that decisions be taken by a majority of EU states representing 60 percent or more of the constitution.

    Why, however, does the document create a permanent, Council President, an official whose stature would immediately rival that of the Commission President? Furthermore, will the process of selecting such a president not bring the differences and rivalries among members and coalitions to light?

    It seems to me the Council Presidency could develop in two ways: Either he/she remains one official among many, by no means dominant and elected for just 2 1/2 years at the discretion of the member states. If that is the case, he/she still steals spotlight and visibility from the commission, strengthening the member states that hold the most sway in the European Union. That would make the decision-making processes simpler, but not very likely in the way most Europhiles want.

    In the opposite case, the Council President becomes an official of impressive power and influence. That creates a new center of power, which will rival BOTH the commission and the member states. How does that streamline anything?

  11. Carl Bildt skriver:

    It is true that the Council President will be an innovation, and it will certainly change things.

    But this replaces the present system of a Council Presidency rotating everu six months. The fact that it changes so often is a source of confusion, and has a tendency to make policy less coherent over time.

    I don’t necessarily see it as a disadvantage that there will be both the Council and the Commission Presidens and in additionb to that the Foreign Minister.

    The global commitments of the EU are increasingly large, and there is often the need for the Union to be present and active on the highest level in several different places at the same time.

    It will of course require institutions of coordination to make certain that the polices expressed are the same, but that challenge is there under the present system as well.

    On the question of Constitution or Treaty, this is still in legal terms a treaty between the sovereign member states of the Union. That’s why it bears the some complicated name of Constitutional Treaty.

%d bloggare gillar detta: