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The mourning of the Constitution ends, the time for proposals begins

(Archives B2) This summit under the Austrian presidency is doubtless not historic. Barely two work meetings, few untimely declarations, few audacious commitments. But we should be careful not to see a few lines of force that foreshadow a desire to relaunch European cooperation.

The Treaty put back on the table

A specific agenda is now set for institutional reform. The reflective pause continues. But its first phase, that of surprise and grief, closes and begins a second sequence, that of proposals. The ratification process continues but it is more a question of democratic respect. Nothing indicates that the Constitution is dead. On the contrary, his spirit is still alive even if the legs remain inert. But, beyond the Constitutional Treaty signed in 2004, reflection is now totally open: a new text, a new framework, nothing is completely excluded. It will be up to Germany to make the first proposals in mid-2007 and to France to conclude this first round at the end of 2008.

Second chamber more transparent

The declaration on transparency in the Council, beyond the civic need, is not insignificant either. If the principles mentioned and the stated intentions will be respected, a change of regime is looming. As a supreme diplomatic body, the 27-member council confirms its status as the second legislative assembly, an upper chamber alongside Parliament, the lower chamber, in short, a bicameral system, classic in a federal system. Too bad the 25 did not take advantage of this to initiate the reduction of the Commission, which is necessary and compulsory.

The tone changes

Finally, how not to notice the change of words. Banish the terms of competitiveness and productivity. Masked the need to build "the most competitive Europe", if possible competitive with the United States. Make way for a “Europe that listens”, a “Europe that works”, proud of its “European way of life”, which it intends to promote in the world. A conquering Europe in a way! Even if in content, then, the European Council has not given up on making a long catalog of congratulations, acts and possible hopes...

It is also the return of the “healthy crisis”. Several Heads of State underlined the spirit of the crisis which foreshadows any solution in Europe...

(Nicolas Gros-Verheyde)

Nicolas Gros Verheyde

Chief editor of the B2 site. Graduated in European law from the University of Paris I Pantheon Sorbonne and listener to the 65th session of the IHEDN (Institut des Hautes Etudes de la Défense Nationale. Journalist since 1989, founded B2 - Bruxelles2 in 2008. EU/NATO correspondent in Brussels for Sud-Ouest (previously West-France and France-Soir).