Wednesday, June 08, 2005

The EUnuchs Still Don't Get It

An EU apologist argues in the WSJ (subscription required) that the way forward after the constitution kerfuffle is for Blair to do 3 things which one or more nations in the EU will not accept. If this is representative, the EU has not long to run.

The three proposals are for Blair to implement when he starts next month a 6 month slot as rotating Chair of the EU.

1. Over double the net Brit payment to the EU

With the current six-year budget due to expire in 2006, a new agreement... will require major concessions from Britain, understandably attached to the rebate skillfully negotiated by Margaret Thatcher 20 years ago....

This would have the Brits paying net 9 billion euros annually, more than the combined net payments of Germany (6 billion euros) and France (2 billion euros). Brit voters just won't accept this. And neither should they - if the EU finds this money from farm support cuts, it will import more food from Africa. Which really would help.

Adopt part of the rejected EU Constitution

Another part of the constitutional treaty that Mr. Blair might be able to salvage is the institution of a European president for a term of two-and-a-half years (but not renewable, unlike what the constitutional treaty proposed). That would give the EU the public face it needs, and after the proverbial dust has settled might even open the door for Mr. Blair himself to assume that role as of March 2007 when the 50th anniversary of "Europe" will coincide with his likely retirement from national politics.

Over 80% of Brits in a recent poll said that they would insist on a referendum if the EU tries to sneak through parts of the rejected constitution. No doubt the French and Dutch will feel the same. Especially if it's a deal to set Blair up with a retirement job. Brits will think this yucky, and the French will see him as a bound to import nasty Anglo business models into the EU. Which he won't, but that's what they think.

Start negotiating Turkey's membership

Third, Mr. Blair should preserve existing EU commitments to enlargement...and the start of negotiations with Turkey this fall. Admittedly, negotiating with Turkey will be even slower than had been anticipated, especially after the expected election of a new German chancellor whose opposition to Turkey's membership in the EU is well known.

What part of No To Turkey does this guy not understand? It's very sad of course, since for all sorts of reasons Turkey needs help. But until the French, Dutch and Germans are comfortable with the assimilation of the Muslims they currently have - and that is years out, if ever - there is no way any pol is going to go near this.

Makes me feel good about dumping my euros though.