It’s summit week. Finally. The EU news sites, and the mainstream media to a certain extent, have been trying to analyze what may or may not emerge from the European Council at the end of this week in Brussels. It looks like Poland is at least softening its tone slightly, although it’s not clear where a compromise will be struck with them – see the latest from IHT. The British press is working up a head of eurosceptic steam, trying to label the treaty as the end of 1000 years of history once more – see this from The Sun.
In all seriousness, what is the Merkel Compromise actually going to amount to? Some changes to voting weights that are needed anyway. A permanent President of the European Council, and the merging of the High Representative and Commissioner for External Relations roles (or an EU foreign minister if you’re scared). If Qualified Majority Voting is to be introduced in Pillar III PJCCM matters then the UK will most probably continue to opt out.
I suspect that some of the efforts to improve accountability – like giving a legal base to energy policy, or European Parliament co-decision in some parts of trade policy, will be dropped. Stating that the EU has supremacy over national law – which it has for 40 years anyway – will also not be included as a sop to the Eurosceptics. Then there’s the Charter of Fundamental Rights that the UK dislikes with a vehemence I have never understood, and hence will probably not be given any legal force.
Maybe I am unduly negative, but all of this adds up something not much better than the messy compromise agreed at Nice. You could quibble over whether the Convention’s text justified the title Constitution. This compromise effort will be little more than Nice version 2, so let’s just get on and agree it.