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EU 'spirit of compromise'

Mark Mardell | 13:18 UK time, Tuesday, 16 December 2008

STRASBOURG 1030

"Europe turned up."

President Sarkozy was talking about the Georgian crisis, but it was the message of his whole speech - that the world needed Europe to be strong, and a strong Europe had to be united. After his speech the leaders of the political groups had their say.

Much of the French president's speech was pretty standard fare of course for speeches to the European Parliament - stress the need for Europe, and need for unity. It's what most here believe and want to hear.

He placed the blame for the financial crisis squarely on the shoulders of the American government: he said it began when they accepted the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers. He also boasted that despite the difficulty of coordinating a response by the 27 countries with very different economic and political cultures, despite the misunderstandings and hesitations, Europe had got the response right. He said that the US had belatedly followed with a solution "based entirely on our plans".

He said there had to be a "re-moralisation" of capitalism, based on entrepreneurship, not speculation.

He told MEPs that when he first visited Dublin he had caused a fuss by saying the Irish would have to vote again on the Lisbon Treaty, but that is what a "courageous" Irish government had now decided. He said this wasn't easy for the Irish people, but Europe was about "a spirit of compromise" and this was what was being displayed. He predicted Lisbon would come into force, just a year late.

He concluded by saying Europe had to be built with the will of the nation states and labelled what he called "integrationalism" as an historic error. He'd enjoyed himself a lot, and the last six months had taught him a great deal. "Europe is the most beautiful invention of the twentieth century, Europe has moved me, it has changed me."

Comments

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  • 1. At 2:38pm on 16 Dec 2008, vagueofgodalming wrote:

    Anyone remember when Sarkozy was feared as the great Americanising influence on France?

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  • 2. At 2:56pm on 16 Dec 2008, one step beyond wrote:

    I have just googled 'integrationalism', still not certain what it is, would appreciate peoples views on what it is, although I suppose as it was a historical error it does not matter any more

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  • 3. At 4:01pm on 16 Dec 2008, MaxSceptic wrote:

    Blah blah blah.

    Thank heavens the EU Presidency is limited to 6 months.

    If this infernal Constitutional Treaty were to be adopted we'd be stuck with these pompous politicos for two and a half years.


    On the plus side, they'd probably inflate their own egos to bursting point and beyond.

    Boom! Splatter! gloop gloop gloop....

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  • 4. At 7:12pm on 16 Dec 2008, frenchderek wrote:

    Having listened to the whole of M Sarkozy's speech (in French), I have my own understanding of what he was meaning when he spoke about "integrationists".

    He made clear that, with 27 democratically elected governments in the EU, in many areas you cannot have a single policy that will suit all nations. The integrationists would seek closer integration for its own sake, forgetting - en route - Europe (ie the 27 nations that comprise Europe).

    He stressed that, in terms of defence, the EU should play a supporting role to NATO, not a competitor.

    What I also noted - and we need to remind ourselves of this - is that the EU acted first on the Russia/Georgia conflict (and he didn't lay any blame about who or what caused it); second, the EU acted first in dealing with the economic crisis. He didn't say it, but if we had waited for the US we'd still be waiting.

    So, OK, it was a "typical" end-of-term speech. You have to say, though, that for once - during the past six months - the EU has shown up as a genuine actor on the world stage.

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  • 5. At 8:13pm on 16 Dec 2008, MaxSceptic wrote:

    ""...the EU has shown up as a genuine actor on the world stage.

    As fool or knave?

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  • 6. At 8:51pm on 16 Dec 2008, Dan6713 wrote:

    Mark you're obviously so pro europe and a federalist superstate You must be able to work it out..

    Here in the UK if we dont like the government we can change them at the next election.. Thats democracy

    If all power is handed over to the EU as is being done how can we ever vote the EU out?

    That means they can change the laws and we cant stop them if we dont like what they do. How on earth can you think this is a good thing?

    I think you can see this and yet you still think its a good idea? For heavens sake why?

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  • 7. At 8:54pm on 16 Dec 2008, Dan6713 wrote:

    This is not compromise. If the EU want our constitution and all the others then Ireland is the key once ireland are on board they will have their constitution and we will have lost ours.. So its not compromise what it is is sweeteners which will be clawed back later.. How on earth can you trust the EU when they hold a second referendum on what they lost and actually dont even bother to give us one..

    Only a fool would allow this.. So much for us being a country to be proud of with a great people.

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  • 8. At 8:55pm on 16 Dec 2008, micromj wrote:

    I too have listened to the speech, in French. All I can do is conclude that this twerp has never done an honest days' labour in his life. He's read too many part paragraphs from big books and how the people of a country which once prided itself on intellectual ability and philosphical discourse came to elect such a vacuous dilletante is puzzling.

    Not only are his half-baked musings complete twaddle, but his position makes him potentially hazardous for the rest of us. Brown and him are making Merkel look like a genuis and that is an incredible achievement.

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  • 9. At 05:51am on 17 Dec 2008, dennisjunior1 wrote:

    Mark:
    I think that the EU is in the spirit of compromise on many issues; that is affecting the European Union countries.

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  • 10. At 08:17am on 17 Dec 2008, singingprincealbert wrote:

    To Dan6713:

    'they can change the laws and we can't stop them if we don't like what they do'.

    Now, let's think about it - who are 'they'.

    'they' are composed of the Council of the EU (where the UK is represented by a minister) and the European Parliament.

    Both the minister (a representative of the UK government) and the members of the EP are elected.

    The Commission (not elected) is the weakest element of the EU decision making, only allowed to initiate the legislative process.

    In a similar manner, on a national level (including UK) most legislation is prepared by unelected civil servants and experts. The governement then submits the draft law to the Parliament who basically only accepts or rejects the proposed regulations.

    I really don't see why the EU should be considered such a villain when it comes to lawmaking.

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  • 11. At 08:36am on 17 Dec 2008, one step beyond wrote:

    Re post 10, Singing prince albert, far from being the weakest element the commision is the strongest. They drive the agenda by proposing legislation. Any comparison with national Governemts civil servants is silly, as they are very much the servants of Government minsiters. They draft the wishes of their respective ministers into proposed legislation, their job is to make sure the wording is accurate and complies with procedsures, human rights legislation etc.

    Also the British Parliament can and frequently does ammend legilsation, this ability to revise and ammend is not open to the E.U. Parliament who can only accept or reject legislation.

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  • 12. At 10:52am on 17 Dec 2008, singingprincealbert wrote:

    jordanbasset:

    You are simply wrong. Please go to the website of the EP or google it out:

    The European Parliament can accept, AMEND or reject the content of European legislation.

    Moreover, since the Maastricht Treaty, the EP can also ask the Commission to submit a proposal.

    The Commission used to drive the agenda in the 80s and 90s. Under Prodi and Barroso the power has shifted towards the Council and the inter-governmental principle of policy making.

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  • 13. At 10:57am on 17 Dec 2008, Dan6713 wrote:

    'they can change the laws and we can't stop them if we don't like what they do'.

    Now, let's think about it - who are 'they'.

    'they' are composed of the Council of the EU (where the UK is represented by a minister) and the European Parliament.

    Both the minister (a representative of the UK government) and the members of the EP are elected.

    ----------------------------------------------------
    Yes you can have any EU MEP as long as its a EU MEP Thats the same as holding an election here and only having Labour candidates I wonder who would get into power
    ----------------------------------------------------

    The Commission (not elected) is the weakest element of the EU decision making, only allowed to initiate the legislative process.

    ------------------------------------------------
    Just one of many problems Also the commisioners dont allow the EU parliament to have the final say or to even choose what goes on the agenda.
    ------------------------------------------------

    In a similar manner, on a national level (including UK) most legislation is prepared by unelected civil servants and experts. The governement then submits the draft law to the Parliament who basically only accepts or rejects the proposed regulations.

    I really don't see why the EU should be considered such a villain when it comes to lawmaking.

    ----------------------------------------------------
    Because if our government changed the laws for example over house ownership say they decided to raise council tax so effectively we were renting of course next election we would throw them out of power and that stops our government from upsetting the people their fate is in our hands.. They could change ownership laws so you no longer own your home what would we do about it? Vote in a new EU MEP? oKAY THEN what if they decided that all elections should take place every 20 years or people keep thier posts forever? Who could stop them? If they hold all the power? People may say well look at the small print there are exclusions but you know as well as I do they will not stop until we have a federal europe completly owned by themselves.. This is clear power is being taken from the people and into the hands of the commissioners who control the so called EU parliament that really isnt it has no opposition MEPs just those who may get elected and disagree.. Even if they all disagreed the EU parliament actually has no power whatso ever and as for regional assemblies what a joke they are just there to implement EU orders..

    All this is clear as day.. So why are people falling for it?

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  • 14. At 12:31pm on 17 Dec 2008, one step beyond wrote:

    Re post 12, I may well be wrong here, but my underdartnding is the E.P. cannot ammend legislation. I belive they can suggest ammendments, which then go to the commsion for agreement. The commision can acccept or reject these ammendments. There is a facility to call a commision if there is dead lock, which will consist of an equal number of the commision and E.P. to decide a way forward. But the commsion can block this, as a majority is required for the ammendment to be allowed. To summarise, my understanding is that if the commision is opposed to the ammendment they can block it. Of course if they agree to it, the ammendment will go through.
    This is different to the U.K. Parliament and I believe some other european countries where the Parliament can and do ammend legislation submitted by the ruling party, even if the leaders of that party do not agree with it.

    In addition there are some measures that the commision can put forward that do not even have to go to the E.P. at all or only for consultation.

    Still say that to suggest the commision is the weakest elemet is not correct by a long way.

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  • 15. At 2:06pm on 17 Dec 2008, Dan6713 wrote:

    So to recap then

    The EU is or is going to be the single power controlling Europe. It will only be accountable to itself It will hold no elections There will be no opposition and no parties in opposition. The commisioners are chosen amongst themselves and unelected The MEPs have no power at all only being able to pass a law IF the commissioners decide its on the agenda.. However they retain the right to overturn the decision or even let them decide.. Effectively making a mockery of elected MEPs.. Being in power forever means they can change laws that go against us with no comeback even changing your MEP will make no difference Once they have all the constitutions signed and sealed there is nothing stopping them from cancelling MEP elections or doing anything they want seeing as how we can never get rid of them.. A party that cant be got rid of is actually a dictatorship...

    Look already at the gravy train of MEP expenses and salary let alone how the entire commision had to resign a few years back because of corruption.. We gave the SIXTY BILLION This year and will keep doing so and what do we get back for it?? We are still the most expensive place in europe and we still pay duty so they have their cake and eat it.. So why do we pay 60 BILLION So they can build nice castles and make supercomputers that VIUA the Schengen highway will contain every single detail on you ready for the new EU council tax and road tolls for starters.. There will be no opposition because they will have access to everything about you at their fingertips..

    The EU is the nightmare we all dread They are being very nice untill they get what they want then were all in trouble.. Look at how they operate infiltrating councils stealing constitutions and taking whats not theirs..

    No one in there right mind would trust this lot..

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  • 16. At 2:20pm on 17 Dec 2008, singingprincealbert wrote:

    14:

    you are mixing it all up.

    Under the co-decision procedure, which for most matters is the standard procedure of EU lawmaking, it is the EP and the Council (not the Commission!) that co-decide.

    The EP can amend the Commission'sproposal. If these amendments are accepted by the Council, the act is adopted as amended by the EP.

    If not, it may either be rejected or end up in a Conciliation Committee which brings together representatives from the Council (not the Commission!) and the EP.

    The Commission may give a negative opinion on the EP's amendments but these can be overridden by the Council.

    As you see, all three actors have an important role to play but the reality is that the Commission is not willing to risk its proposal being rejected by the Council and in most cases, it only submits draft acts for which the Council's support is guaranteed in advance.

    Therefore, it can be rightly claimed that the Commission is (politically) the weakest link in the system.

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  • 17. At 2:35pm on 17 Dec 2008, PaulP127 wrote:

    I find this "courage" comment mystifying.

    If Sarkozy had courage he'd have put the treaty to another referendum in France. Instead the entire French political establishment of right and left chickened out of that and came up with a legalistic mechanism to avoid having to do it.

    The same for the Dutch.

    They are all scared of the treaty being rejected by their electorate.


    Now the EU political class have ganged up on the Irish government and bullied them into another vote. If the Irish government had courage it would have invited them all to put it to referendums in all their own countries. Instead it chickened out and capitulated without a fight.




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  • 18. At 2:36pm on 17 Dec 2008, singingprincealbert wrote:

    15:

    You are only recapitulating your own biased opinions there.

    1. Contrary to what you say, the MEPs cannot introduce a dictatorship as they cannot (logically) change the Treaties by themselves.

    2. You (UK) are not the most expensive 'place' in Europe.

    3. The fact that the Commission was forced to resign only confirms that system of checks and balances functions well.

    4. Council taxes have nothing to do with the EU.

    5. The Commissioners are not chosen among themselves - the national governments designate them.

    There are other obvious mistakes in your reasoning but I guess you wouldn't change your mind anyway, so I stop here.

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  • 19. At 2:43pm on 17 Dec 2008, one step beyond wrote:

    Re post 16, apologies, meant council re situation concerning ammendments, still means the E.P. is weak.

    But still cannot see how the commsion who propose legilsation and can even in certain circumsances act independently of the E.P., can be considered as the weakest element. In relation to the your original post cannot see how he commision can be in any way equated with the U.K. civil service

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  • 20. At 3:44pm on 17 Dec 2008, Dan6713 wrote:

    15 Why do you think My post is biased opinion? If Im wrong why not point out where I went wrong? The truth is you cant because all I have done is presented the facts..

    The EU has no opposition parties and is in power forever.. How can that be disputed?

    The commissioners are unelected How can that be disputed?

    Countries will not be given a referendum.. How can that be disputed? The only one that is will have to keep voting till they give the right answer

    The MEPs are not allowed to choose whats on the agenda How can that be disputed?

    The MEPs get only to vote on what the commissioners allow them to.. How can that be disputed??

    Corruption is rife within the EU that is a fact..

    There new supercomputer and the Schengen highway is a fact.. All your details will be on it as in this country all databases are being linked for easy access..

    Everything I have said is the truth and is not biased opinion..

    Hers though is my opinion.. Only a fool would allow the EU to take our democracy and freedom..

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  • 21. At 3:54pm on 17 Dec 2008, Dan6713 wrote:

    You are only recapitulating your own biased opinions there.

    1. Contrary to what you say, the MEPs cannot introduce a dictatorship as they cannot (logically) change the Treaties by themselves.

    ----------------------------------------------
    Thats if yoy believe they are treaties which they are not The only people who believe its a treaty is the labour party even EU commissioners admit its a constitution..

    --------------------------------------------------
    2. You (UK) are not the most expensive 'place' in Europe.

    ----------------------------------------------------
    No you may be right but we get nothing from the EU that benefits us food prices have rocketed and everything from cars to fags and booze is still more expensive There is duty to pay on things bought in..
    -----------------------------------------------------

    3. The fact that the Commission was forced to resign only confirms that system of checks and balances functions well.

    --------------------------------------------------
    What?????? They got caught how many didnt?
    -----------------------------------------------

    4. Council taxes have nothing to do with the EU.

    ---------------------------------------------------
    The err so called regional assemblies who answer to the EU have been rebadged and effectively have infiltrated and steer the councils although Brussels dont run them yet its on the cards.
    -----------------------------------------------------

    5. The Commissioners are not chosen among themselves - the national governments designate them.

    ------------------------------------------------
    Wrong The president elect of the Commission chooses the commissioners from the lists of candidates put forward by the EU countries.
    ----------------------------------------------

    There are other obvious mistakes in your reasoning but I guess you wouldn't change your mind anyway, so I stop here.
    ----------------------------------------------------

    Please feel free to continue?

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  • 22. At 6:41pm on 17 Dec 2008, Dan6713 wrote:

    Mark the credit crunch started when the federal reserve called time on the so called sub prime loans..

    Bush warned about these loans back in 2001 But then what he did was amazingly stupid or clever depending on how you view it.. He allowed massive immigration into the country and force freddie mac and fanny mae to lend them money even though they couldnt afford to pay them back.. This made the sub prime problem much much worse.. Although this was well known about it didn't stop banks from investing as their bosses made big fat bonuses on sub prime loans that were never going to get paid back.. They all knew the problem Bush earlier had tried to do something about it until he used it to hand out free money to their newly arrived immigrants.. In fact Bush and Blair were doing similar things Bush with his mass immigration and Blair with his mainly from pakistan..They also went to war together.. The timing of the credit crunch when they had a full house of everyone on board meant effectively the Governments could buy up the banks If you own the banks you control lending and that means you control capitilism.. Meanwhile the EU steals our country while Blair becomes a multi millionare often paid for a day in a month as a consultant etc with huge earnings.. A payoff for favours done in government? I think we all know how this is working and where we are going.. Remove the peoples democracy and control the money means you have unlimited wealth and power.. working in the government now can be better than winning the national lottery.. Much better

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  • 23. At 09:55am on 18 Dec 2008, Dan6713 wrote:

    http://www.englandsrdas.com/about_the_regions/

    Recognise the map? Yes its england split into its new format of nine regions. When Brown announced regional assemblies are finished because they couldnt get elected.. He changed the name incorporating them into regional development agencies who have their own constitution making them answerable to brussels and UNELECTED and gave them authority within councils. How democratic is that? You cant win so change the name and appoint them without a vote oR AN ELECTION . Our councils are being infiltrated by Brussels so you will soon be getting your council tax demand from Brussels HQ and when they have the constitution I'd like to see you or anyone stop them from raising Council taxes What would you do? Complain? Your assembly may mention it but will have no power to do anything.. Then what fly out to brussels to complain? You would get as far as the airport then be arrested as a security threat because you will have an ID card that will hone in on you no matter where you go or what you do. You can say it couldnt happen all you want the fact is its all being put in place and that is a fact.

    And isnt that just how the EU operates? If it cant get it through peoples stupidity it takes it anyway...

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