Monday, June 25, 2007

Europe's New 'Reform Treaty'

Good editorial at the Wall Street Journal. They note that Gordon Brown has previously said that he will not submit the treaty for ratification by voters, but instead have it considered in Parliament only. It would be a great mistake to snub the voters on so important an issue, on what is essentially his first act as PM:

Europe is back, all right -- back to its old tricks and undemocratic sleights of hand. It's quite clear that the "reflection" the EU imposed on itself after French and Dutch voters rejected its Constitution two years ago amounted to nothing more than a long look in the mirror.

This resuscitated Constitution, albeit by a different name, negates the results of those free votes. Just as worrying -- and a dangerous portent for the Continent's future prosperity -- the price of the compromise in Brussels will erode the free-market principles on which the European Community was founded 50 years ago...

There will be enormous pressure on all EU leaders not to allow mere citizens to muck up the plan devised in Brussels. Mr. Sarkozy himself shows no inclination to hold a repeat referendum in France. He and others on the Continent will lobby Gordon Brown, who takes over as British Prime Minister this week, to follow suit and avoid putting the treaty to voters. Bowing to Brussels, Mr. Brown has indicated that he'll ask Parliament to ratify, not British voters.

It is hard to imagine a worse start to Mr. Brown's tenure at 10 Downing Street than to see him wave through the EU's "Reform Treaty" without popular support. The real lesson of the 2005 votes in France and the Netherlands is that citizens wouldn't sign off on an ambitious expansion of EU political prerogatives. They took full advantage of a rare opportunity to say so. Applying a few cosmetic changes and moving forward as if nothing happened makes a mockery of democracy.

The piece expands on some of the points I made the other day. Read the whole thing.

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