Android209, fair play. I would have to agree with you in that I can’t see the EU doing much for me personally; on the other hand, I think that there has to be some degree of European integration - basically in terms of economic policies (not EMU) - in order to compete economically on global terms.
The EU as a political body is a shambles; but to abandon the whole thing would be throwing the baby out with the bathwater.
I guess my biggest fear is people (and I don’t mean you here) who decide that any form of European interaction is wrong, purely because they “don’t like the French” or “the Germans are out to get us”. I worry about the Little Englander mentality getting the upper hand more than I do about the current problems within the EU.
There are a few positive things to have come from the EU - getting Britain to adhere to the ECHR for a start.
Meara - you were right with the former. The EU has a rotating presidency every 6-months around the member states. Portugal holds the current presidency.
I heartily agree here, i’m totally in favour of more cooperation under the auspices of a genuine free trade association and yes, the Little Englander attitude is unhelpful. Incidentally, I just printed off the two reports on corruption etc in the european commission, if anything interesting comes out of it, i’ll let you all know :)…although at over 300 pages, it could be a while.
The answer is, “Nobody”. They’re not doing it. The Member States are doing it individually.
No, but on this occasion it seems that the Presidency was speaking on behalf of the other governments by agreement.
Er… Yes. Title V, Article 11 of the Treaty on European Union:
“1. The Union shall define and implement a common foreign and security policy covering all areas of foreign and security policy …”
Nobody who read the preamble to the Treaty of Rome (which was v. widely distributed at the time) can possibly have thought that it was just a free trade area: after all, we already had one of those in EFTA.
If you don’t like the EU, fine. But criticising it for something that it in fact the independent actions of its Member States weakens your case.
Yes, the Presidency rotates round each of the Member States in turn. Our turn was in 1998, IIRC.