Friday, October 19, 2007

Brown and the EU Treaty

Gordon Brown and the EU are two distant planets. But Brown should speak more clearly about it. Recently asked about the new treaty he defined it as a modest piece of housekeeping.

This is not correct. The treaty born out of the abortion of the more pompous sounding constitutional treaty keeps intact most of the institutional and procedural reforms of the previous treaty minus the symbolic constitutional talk.

But the promised reforms are still beefy and certainly not modest as Gordon claims.

The explanation is the following: Brown is not an EU supporter. But he fears even more the possibility of a referendum, which he would very probably lose as the british are hard to convince on EU matters and also because Brown does not believe in it anyhow.

Brown should speak up more clearly and take a clear position vis-a-vis Europe (and regarding his grand political views). Otherwise, he will always sound false.


Euan MacDonald said...

While I agree with the basic point you make, Lorenzo - that the proposed Treaty is much more than a modest piece of housekeeping, I can see where Brown is coming from.

Specifically, the issue is whether the proposed reform, when the symbolic constitutionalist rhetoric is removed, is any greater than previous reforms that did not go to a referendum in the UK. My feeling is that it is not, and that in this regard he is entirely within his rights to resist a potentially hugely divisive referendum. His own rhetoric, then, is designed to minimise the risk that those who are genuinely opposed to the European project - in a manner, I think, that Brown is clearly not, and there are plenty of them in the UK - are not themselves able to magnify the constitutional significance of these reforms in an effort to throw a spanner in the European works more generally.

Not entirely honest, but perhaps excusable in terms of "fighting fire with fire" (or in this case, less-than-honest rhetoric with less-than-honest rhetoric). It doesn't make for great public debate, of course.

I'm not entirely sure where your opinion on Brown's basic Euro-scepticism comes from, though.

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