Tuesday, September 25, 2007

The draft reform treaty for the EU, in plain English

/ daft or draft /
Given that the new EU draft reform treaty was deliberately made unreadable, in order to avoid the nuisance of public acceptance through national referenda, and some hold that it is 96% the same as the European Constitution document that was rejected by French and Dutch voters a couple of years ago (although the BBC insists that there are some important differences), there is a rather pressing need to figure out what the damn thing says.

To this end, the kind folks over at Statewatch, a European State and Civil Liberties watchdog group, were kind enough to wade through the mire of existing treaties and present us with an analysis of the draft treaty which, while not exactly constituting easy reading by any means, makes it possible to see what the changes are about. As they put it:

...the text of the Reform Treaty is completely unintelligible unless it is read alongside the existing Treaties. Furthermore, the full impact of many of the amendments to the Treaties set out in the draft Reform Treaty needs further explanation. Finally, there has been much public discussion of whether or not the draft Reform Treaty is essentially identical to the EU's Constitutional Treaty of 2004.

In order to further public understanding of and debate upon the draft Reform Treaty, the following Statewatch analyses make the text of the draft Treaty comprehensible, by setting out the entire texts of the existing TEU and TEC and showing precisely how those texts would be amended by the draft Treaty. There are explanatory notes on the impact of each substantive amendment to the Treaties, and each analysis includes general comments, giving an overview of the changes and pointing out exactly which provisions of the draft Reform Treaty were taken from the Constitutional Treaty, and which provisions are different from the Constitutional Treaty.

There are 3 analyses, divided into ten parts.

Se also an ongoing series of articles on the proposed treaty by Francis Wurtz (part 1, 2, 3, 4, 5), who is President of the Group of the United European Left/Nordic Green Left (GUE/NGL) in the European Parliament and a member of the French Communist Party. Further installments of Wurtz's analysis will appear (I assume) on Spectrezine, the Dutch Socialist Party's online magazine.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Stuff I've been writing

/ hiatus interrupted /
Have been both busy and away, and when I wasn't I was busy writing diaries over at the European Tribune, the latest of which is about today's elections in Greece and the penultimate about last month's deadly and unprecedented forest fires.

Hopefully I'll be returning to some sort of normal schedule after the elections and will post more frequently.