Wednesday, 1 June 2011
Strauss-Kahn's Manifesto for an EU Utopia.
The controversy surrounding Dominique Strauss-Khan made me think of his 'Building A Political Europe', published in 2004 at the very end of the Prodi Commission. It seems such a long time ago now, and so much has happened since the paper's publication. The face of the EU is barely recognisable from what it was in 2004. Strauss-Khan speculated on what was then the proposed constitution, and how it would enable future incumbents to create a "Utopia" (his word) for Europeans. It also lays down the challenge "We have built Europe: now let us build Europeans", which sounds a bit like something Pol Pot might have come out with if he had been born in France, and not one of it's protectorates.
The document was a eurosceptic's dream when it was published, and I recall being asked to write a précis by the MEP Jeffrey Titford. Sadly, this particular sitting target was never even noticed.
The paper is still worth reading, and it would be churlish to deny the insight and superb understanding of European politics that Strauss-Khan demonstrates. It does, however, read like an extremist manifesto. It also introduced into mainstream debate issues such as a European Tax, and the concept of super-constituencies, and their attendant Pan-European parties (which have actually been with us since 1992)..
The EU tax is still on the table - although it does already exist in a small way in the form of VAT - the Constitution is with us, under another name, and the super-constituencies are being debated at this very moment.
I enjoyed reading the paper again after all these years, but a word of warning - this has nothing to do with democracy as we in Great Britain know it!