PositionEuropean Union

Whichever way they try to spin it, European Union leaders have made their constitutional crisis worse, not better. They have increased the ambiguities over the failing treaty, neither coming up with a solution, nor admitting failure. And they have tried to dignify their result as "Plan D" a cheap slogan to evoke dialogue, discussion, debate and democracy, but offering nothing of substance.

It is a poor substitute for the D-Day that was hoped for, that could have delivered Europe from its current strategic uncertainty. But the Constitutional Treaty is neither dead nor alive, and Europe continues to drift. All that has emerged is a vague prescription of undefined discussion for an indeterminate period among whichever member states as choose, and in the way they see fit. EU leaders have timidly relied on a fudge that offends no-one, commits no-one, and satisfies no-one.

The EU has shamelessly compounded confusion, and institutionalised indecision. There is no indication from France or the Netherlands as to how to overcome their No votes. The Dutch Foreign Minister ruled out any possibility of a re-run referendum in his country. And his French opposite number made clear that there is no decision on whether France will hold a new vote. The only Council action has been to remove the constraint of a ratification deadline, and to hide its inaction behind...

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