Curiouser and curiouser, this EU treaty: That is the assessment of elder statesman Valery Giscard d’Etaing. He has warned it could be rendered nonsense starting Monday. He was president of the convention that drafted the constitution, and so the European Parliament has asked for his opinion.
He says: “The mandate of the Intergovernmental conference is based on the hypothesis of three treaties: a modifying treaty and two that would be conserved. That is the old Treaty of Rome and the European Union’s Treaty of Maastricht. So you see that the ICG is in reality a somewhat more complicated device than the Convention, which in the end reached a single text.”
Several EU states are adamant that some contents of the constitution must not reappear in the new treaty. Current EU president Portugal picks Britain out for special mention: Foreign Minister Luis Amado says: “The European project’s relations with the United Kingdom are particular. The European Union these last few years… without the UK it wouldn’t have had the same spicy hot quality.”
Last month the 27 EU leaders gave the green light for inter-governmental talks on a new reform treaty. The foreign ministers will begin next week and then review progress in September. The bloc’s ambition is to conclude the treaty at a summit scheduled in October.
The Convention under Giscard laboured for almost a year and a half. The modifications may be called limited, he says, but they seek to efface the image of Europe, “doubtless to ease the (curious text’s)approval on this point or that”.