European Union, Constitutional Treaty, Lisbon Treaty, defence, foreign affairs, strategy, treaty of Nice, Eastern Europe, stability, politic, economic, Soviet rule, Kosovo problem, independance, democracy, opposition, population, enlargement, NATO, Nicolas Sarkozy, crisis, Putin, Russia, America, China, industry, environmental norms, European federation, globalisation, innovation, Federation, history, culture, Nation-State
The development of the European Union, along the line of constant progress towards more integration, which more or less prevailed since 1950, appeared to stop suddenly in May 2005 with the French "No" to the so-called Constitutional Treaty.
That problem has been solved, at least for now, with the Lisbon Treaty. This treaty retains all the major innovations of the 2005 text for foreign affairs and defence.
It is true that the EU needed quickly a better and more visible decision-making process in foreign and strategic affairs than what had been decided at Nice in 2000. But at the same time we remember that until 2009 the EU remains under the treaty of Nice, which did not really solve the problem of governance for a Union expanded to 27 members, but which for some countries is actually better than the Lisbon Treaty because it does not take so much into account the demographic factor and gives more or less the same voting rights in the Council of Ministers to all the great historical nations of Europe. But all problems have not been solved, by far.
[...] Towards a free-trade area in an Atlantic system? The British, some newcomers and potent forces on both sides of the Atlantic would prefer Europe to be nothing more than a free-trade area, with little political identity, and with its security firmly embedded in NATO under American leadership. Economic factors (see the first semester) and globalisation do push in that direction. The most recent instance is the fusion of Euronext group of European stock exchanges) with the New York Stock Exchange, instead of a "European" fusion with the German stock exchange system, in April 2007. [...]
[...] - The situation in Cyprus, which was a major stumbling block, is less tense. - President Sarkozy has decided to rescind the amendment to the constitution decided by his predecessor, according to which any new enlargement would call for a referendum in France. - The accession of Ukraine is as of now less probable, despite strong support from Poland and up to a point Germany: it would not ease the relationship between the EU and Russia, which is quite strained right now with new developments: Recurring crises between Russia and the Baltic countries. [...]
[...] One has to see whether the new French president and the new government still push in that direction. There are indications that such is the case. But the Union has been more or less efficient for economic matters, but not for the political and strategic agenda that is now becoming urgent. Many believe that only the States enjoy a sufficient degree of legitimacy with their people to deal with those matters, and that the best that can be achieved, from a European point of view, is to encourage them to co-operate more closely. [...]
[...] - Enlargement is still a major issue, European countries (unanimity is required there) disagree about Turkey and Ukraine beyond that. American officials have challenged the prudent Brussels attitude towards both Turkey and Ukraine: they are pushing hard (and Washington certainly support that move) for the ultimate admission of Ukraine in both NATO and the EU. - The accession of Turkey is now a distinct possibility and is becoming more and more likely. - Negotiations are proceeding at a steady pace with Brussels. [...]
[...] Towards a "Europe-puissance" or towards a free trade zone? Introduction The development of the European Union, along the line of constant progress towards more integration, which more or less prevailed since 1950, appeared to stop suddenly in May 2005 with the French to the so-called Constitutional Treaty. That problem has been solved, at least for now, with the Lisbon Treaty. This treaty retains all the major innovations of the 2005 text for foreign affairs and defence. It is true that the EU needed quickly a better and more visible decision-making process in foreign and strategic affairs than what had been decided at Nice in 2000. [...]
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