Good Morning, Malta! My Island of surreal peace. My Lilliput-landia.
An outpost of ambivalent Europeans suffering from a mass amnesia. Is this the end of our EU-phoria? It is time to stand up and be counted! For once, an issue agreed upon by all local political parties is at stake. And what are we doing about it? Nothing. There is hardly any real debate on this topic. Life goes on. For a second I wonder if this means anything to the crowds that so much cheered or booed the EU membership saga before May 2004; but now, like silent dumb sheep, we are not the least bothered. We got our Petty cash funds. We are patching up our streets. Getting jobs in Brussels.
We move on with our lives, as if nothing is really happening beyond the lovely shores of our islands. We assume that we are the one and only country on earth; the centre of the universe; if anything else exists is must be obviously a threat; or a source to suck up to… How pathetic.
For many on this island joining the EU meant solely economic gain. How short sighted! How egoistic! Let us wake up to the present reality: Just because 2 founding (but equal, i.e. not less or more important) members of the union voted against the latest proposed EU constitution - we are now stuck without it being ratified. We are trapped in an economic club with pseudo-political aspirations (that are increasingly sounding more like pretensions), that as times go by is frizzling into oblivion, with an increasing membership, but an ever more diluted policy or vision.
Tajba din! (Good one!) Minority rules in the EU, apparently.
An EU without the constitution is nothing but a free market association. It is purely an economic bloc, no other strings attached. When we joined we were after belonging within a strong EU, a politically integrated Union, a joint security system, shared sovereignty, common foreign policy. Is it still the case?
OK: France and the Netherlands have rejected the constitution. Big deal! 18 countries ratified it. That is 270 million citizens saying YES.
As reported on BBC, the 18 EU countries that have ratified the bloc's draft constitution have just made another feeble call to the nine other members to help revive the entire beleaguered document.
members not to scrap the constitution but to help build on it.
The UK, Czech Republic, and Poland want the constitution replaced by a new, slimmed-down mini-treaty. Oops. That smells like a blow beneath the belt to the EU aspirations for a respectable political mandate. Without the ratified constitution the EU's is no alpha male in the world chimp club. It is a beleaguered pathetic creature that crawls along its way, follows not leads;
French and Dutch voters rejected the constitution in referendums in 2005. And it seems their way is the way forward, as all stopped with their no. So my vote as a Maltese counts less than that of a guy in France, or Holland.
Spain's Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos told the meeting in Madrid the constitution was "a magnificent document" that should be "complemented rather than carved up". Nice words.
"Is the only way out of the constitutional impasse the wholesale dismantling of the constitutional treaty? By cutting it into little pieces?" he asked.
The new constitution was drafted to streamline decision-making within the growing EU and would create a permanent president and foreign ministry.
The BBC's Oana Lungescu in Madrid says Spain now seems set on a collision course with opponents of the constitution.
We cannot resign ourselves to Europe being no more than a huge market or a free trade area
Alberto Navarro; Nicolas Schmit
Belgium and Luxembourg have expressed views similar to Spain's.
The German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, whose country holds the rotating EU presidency, aims to bring both camps together by June.
But our correspondent says that will not be easy.
Wary of dividing the EU even more, Germany only sent an observer to the Madrid meeting of "the friends of the constitution".
Germany did back the constitution in a parliamentary vote, but has not yet formally ratified it.
The countries represented in Madrid were: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Estonia, Finland, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia and Spain.
The conservative contender in the French presidential race, Nicolas Sarkozy, was the first to call for a mini-treaty that would be ratified by parliament, not through another referendum.
Mr Moratinos wants to enhance the existing constitution
A mini-treaty would cut the existing constitution into bits and preserve only the technical changes that would allow the EU to work more effectively and admit further new members.
The Europe ministers of Spain and Luxembourg, who organised the conference, say the countries that have approved the constitution - with a combined population of more than 270 million - want their voice to be heard.
In a joint article published in a number of European newspapers, Spain's Alberto Navarro and Luxembourg's Nicolas Schmit say that in today's globalised world "a united and capable Europe is more necessary than ever.
"We cannot resign ourselves to Europe being no more than a huge market or a free trade area," they write.
Main Source: BBC News 27.01. The article has been Re-Edited by Ray de Bono.
The original article can be seen at http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/6300231.stm