Downing Street Decides


With another resounding No in the referendum in the Netherlands tomorrow highly likely, the focus of attention is rapidly shifting to London.

It’s unlikly in the extreme that the Blair government will proceed with plans to hold a referendum on the Constitutional Treaty.

It is more likely to postpone everything indefinitely, perhaps saying that they eventually are ready to have a referendum after the French have had another one or ratified it in some otherway.

This, of course, is little more than pushing the buck around. Nothing of this will happen in the foreseeable future. And if this is the line from London, it is safe to expect that it will be the line coming out of additional capitals, although frenetic efforts are underway to stop the leaks from the ship.

It’s far more constructive to note that this Constitutional Treaty will not come into effect in the foreseeable future, and start the real discussion on what really needs to be done.

Two things need to be in focus in that debate. Issues of peace, and issues of prosperity. What really needs to be done.

A debate with substance first and institutions second. Not the other way around. That might make it possible to getthe required support throughout Europe.

Monday – when the British government will show its cards – will be the really crucial day. I’ll watch it from the perspective of Moscow.

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