Thursday, July 05, 2007

"Don't Tell the British"

Glenn notes that a pro-consolidation European official has warned that while 'one can always explain that what is in the interest of Europe is in the interests of our countries,' 'Britain is different. Does that mean it's only Britain that has a conflicting interest, or only the British who cannot be convinced? If he means the former -- Britain should stay out; if he means the latter, then why did the French and Dutch reject it last time?

It looks like the British are about to get a taste of the same sort of furor that surrounded our immigration debate -- complete with voters wondering how the government got so out of touch. For their sake, I hope they take a lesson:

The Open Europe campaign and other pro-referendum groups aim to put maximum pressure on MPs before a likely Commons vote next year on ratifying the treaty.

As with Mr Blair before him, Mr Brown has insisted that Britain's negotiating "red lines" were not broken at last month's summit - and therefore no referendum is needed...

Last night, Open Europe served notice that anti-referendum MPs from all the main parties would face sustained pressure in their own constituencies in the coming months.

Lord Leach of Fairford, the Tory peer who is chairman of Open Europe, told The Daily Telegraph: "Gordon Brown should think twice before going back on his party's manifesto pledge to hold a referendum on a treaty that is the EU constitution in all but name.

Mr. Brown ought to avoid arguments that 'the people just don't understand the deal,' or 'we can't let talk radio run Britain.'

Update: I've been pretty harsh on Nicolas Sarkozy for not understanding trade and economic growth -- and showing that ignorance in his support for the 'Reform Treaty.' I just noticed that Peter Mandelson -- an early backer of Tony Blair and several times a Minister in his government -- also recently slammed Sarkozy and the Treaty:

Europe's economies depend on open markets, European Union Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson said a week after French President Nicolas Sarkozy said a revamp of EU rules will let governments protect national companies. Sarkozy said on June 23 that his push to drop a clause making "free and undistorted competition'' a specific goal of an EU treaty, rather than a means to prosperity, may allow for the "emergence of European champions'' among the bloc's 27 nations. "Competition should indeed not be some sort of dogma or religion, but nor is it a dirty word,'' Mandelson said on Saturday in Paris. "Competition has helped make Europe rich and France one of the most productive economies in Europe'' and "is how we keep our markets efficient and dynamic.''

If Peter Mandelson is attacking the underpinning for the Treaty, that's a significant knock against it.

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