Europe

Non

I haven’t had time to put together anything on the French referendum result but I would recommend a couple of items I’ve read on other blogs:

Paul Anderson: It’s hardly the end of civilisation as we know it, but it is depressing. The constitutional treaty is a long way short of perfect: it is for the most part aimed at making the existing intergovernmentalist EU structures work more efficiently and contains little to address the union’s democratic deficit. But if implemented it would create an institutional settlement that could be improved over time.

Now, however, it looks as if it won’t be implemented: it is difficult to see how the treaty can survive the French “no”, and it will be dead and buried if the Dutch reject it too.

It is even more difficult, however, to see how a better constitutional treaty can be negotiated, at least in the short term. Of course, it is possible that the European political class responds to the setback with the imagination, dynamism, flexibility and commitment to democratic principle that were so conspicuous by their absence in the horse-trading that created the constitutional treaty. But that’s rather unlikely.

Socialism in an Age of Waiting: Meanwhile, if the European left really wants to keep itself distinct from the European right (and parts of it clearly do not, but that’s another matter), it surely must, sooner rather than later, come up with at least an outline for a positive reform of the EU in the direction that the left believes it ought to go (albeit without illusions, to quote an over-used but highly relevant phrase). Otherwise the left risks becoming – or, if not becoming, being decisively portrayed as – a wholly negative force, undeniably skilled at pointing out what is wrong with the EU in particular, and the neoliberal consensus in general, but fatally weakened by being – or, again, seeming – utterly impractical about what to do next.

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