September 17, 2003


National veto must go, says Prodi (Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, 18/09/2003, Daily Telegraph)

The European Commission called yesterday for the abolition of the national veto in all constitutional matters.

The demand was in proposed changes to the draft European constitution unveiled yesterday by Romano Prodi, the commission's president, supposedly in the name of the entire body.

Dismissing the current text drafted by Valery Giscard d'Estaing, the former French president, as "unworkable" and "absurd", Mr Prodi said member states retained far too much power to block decisions. It would inevitably lead to gridlock once the European Union expanded to 25 next year.

Mr Prodi said the veto must be eliminated on all future changes to the constitution, saying it was unreasonable to let any one country block future amendments in perpetuity.

Mr. Prodi is obviously right here--the Union would be unworkable if each state could veto what it didn't like. Imagine trying to govern America if each state had veto power. For there to be a functional Union they're going to have to trust one another and assume that what's good for France and Germany is good for everyone.

Posted by Orrin Judd at September 17, 2003 10:17 PM

Can anyone remember why, pre-9/11, almost everybody in North America took it for granted that the EU was a good idea?

Posted by: Peter B at September 18, 2003 2:37 PM

That's everyone in Canada, at best. No conservative treasures the idea of a massive bureaucracy administered by the French and Germans.

Posted by: oj at September 18, 2003 2:51 PM

Whoa! You forget all the bureaucrats, who are probably a plurality of Belgians.

Posted by: jim hamlen at September 18, 2003 2:53 PM


Are you sure? I could be wrong, but I thought US policy during the Reagan/Bush Sr. years was pretty supportive.

Posted by: Peter B at September 18, 2003 2:59 PM


That which Maggie opposed, Reagan opposed.

Posted by: oj at September 18, 2003 3:10 PM

Prodi is against a Polish constitution.

Orrin's right. It isn't just that any of 25 states could gum up the works. Any rich individual could do so, just by bribing one of the pipsqueak countries.

That's how Prussia, Austria and Russia managed Poland before Partition.

Posted by: Harry Eagar at September 18, 2003 6:09 PM