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EU: A constitutional deadlock and the crisis of the analytical system of/on the EU

In this beginning  of 2006,  the project  of constitutional  treaty  is still at the centre  of most  EU discussions. Does this mean that the process of ratification is being rejuvenated or is it the sign of a profound deadlock in which the EU institutions and political leaders are stuck? What course will follow the EU between today and the June 2006 Summit, a summit first designed to mark the end of the “thinking era” initiated in June 2005?

The answer to these questions depends on three factors out of which the first will be analysed in this issue of the ‘GlobalEurope Anticipation Bulletin’ (GEAB) :

  1. the capacity  of each member  state to determine  a strategy  concerning  the future of the constitutional project
  2. the capacity of the various European institutional players (EU and member states’ institutions) to converge on this subject
  3. the possibility to identify politically realistic solutions integrating the objective consequences of the French and Dutch « Noes ».

The  failure  of the  constitutional  ratification  process  initiated  in 2004  indeed  proved  that  some elements, previously regarded as key factors, were no longer relevant, such as those declarations of intent made by political leaders and governments, or such as those publications released by the EU institutions and some related “authorized bodies” located either in Brussels or in our national capitals. All of them were convergent  before the French and Dutch referenda,  even in their analyses of a potential « No » (when these existed at the beginning of 2005) which concluded to the fact that « No- ist » countries were doomed be isolated amidst a fast and massive wave of ratification in the other member-states.  Every  one  knows  what  actually  happened;  and  today’s  EU  is  still  sunk  in  the unforeseen (though not unpredictable, as proved by Europe 2020) of the May-June 2005 referenda.

We can thus consider  that one of the first consequences  of the French and Dutch “Noes” is the opening of a crisis of legitimacy of the entire analytical system of / on the European Union. The latter was indeed completely mistaken on a central subject. From an easily predictable project, the EU all of a sudden turned into a process defeating the quasi-totality of the resources specialized in the analysis of its evolution.

This situation generated a double paradox:

. on the one hand, it triggered an interest, an increased need, to anticipate future events suddenly appearing more uncertain and unknowable due to the crisis initiated by those referenda
. on the other hand, the analysis and prospective system used for decades to envisage the evolution
. of the EU was largely discredited as being capable of providing reliable information… Read more in the GEAB No 1 / 16.01.2006

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