Friday, 22 December 2000

Breaking the French Spell

The Malta Independent

Breaking the French Spell

May this Christmas break the French spell which has literally dominated the world these last 6 months. This was a period where all strange things, often unthinkable,` seemed to happen which one way or other went the French way to detriment of the real values of life.

It started as soon as the French took over the presidency of the EU at the mid-year point from the Portuguese. At just the same time the French` eliminated the Portuguese from the European Cup semi-final in a game where` the Portuguese were clearly the better outfit. Two days into July the French won the final in the very last minute of injury` time against the Italians who had practically already started celebrating.

It has not stopped there. FIFA give the player of the year award to Frenchman Zidane who has been anything but exemplary on the field of play during the year. It also honoured a self-confessed drug addict as a joint player of the century.

The US has a president elect who has not been factually elected.` At best one can say he has been chosen by the Federal Supreme Court in a highly contentious ruling by the odd vote from` nine.` Just imagine if Milosevic were elected president of Yugoslavia in a similar manner as the one which destined` George W Bush to be the 43rd president of the United States.` Could this be part of the French spell where the candidate actually chosen by the people is denied presidency in` favour of a candidate who, to the delight of the French, has a headline policy of reducing the importance of the American forces on the European continent`

And what about Nice` Is it part of the French spell that has made everyone sign up to an agreement that nobody seems to like It is becoming more and more obvious that at Nice the cart has been put before the horse. If a new ICG is required to decide the allocation of matters which will be reserved for the individual states and those which will be shared at the Centre of the EU, and if this new ICG will have to reorganise the allocation of work among the Institutions and possibly create new institutions, like a second chamber of the European Parliament, how can the agreement at Nice be effectively implemented`

Would` it not have been the natural sequence to have these matters cleared first and then decide what has been decided at Nice In any case what was decided at Nice does not form a good foundation for a democratic expansion of the EU to embrace 27 nations where three big countries` and one small country can bloc decisions taken by the large majority of members representing a majority of the population of EU members countries.

This is not democracy.` This is imposition and arm twisting. It will eventually lead to self-destruction` needing a crisis revision of whatever was decided at Nice before real enlargement can proceed. That will be the time when the people of the EU will curse the French spell of 2000.

Sustainable enlargement can only happen within a truly democratic EU` run by a simple double majority rule where there is clear definition of the principle of subsidiarity to identify unequivocally what matters will each country be allowed to maintain within its national prerogative.

Until the EU is shaped on this basis Malta`s interest as a tiny sovereign island state at the southern periphery of the European continent is` best served by a contractual relationship and not by membership. Membership could become an option when the bad effects of the French spell are some day corrected. Meanwhile celebrate Christmas with the best thing the French can do ` wine and champagne.

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