One of these strange things about German EU policy is the constant creation of unneccessary mistrust. In a letter to fellow EU governments around 20th April Angela Merkel listed 12 questions for the next steps in the debate on the future of the Treaty. After leaks went through the press, her spokespersons apparently denied the existence of a letter. This is what I call confidence-building.
The questions are actually well-chosen and cover most of the contested issues of recent months. However, a public debate would probably score far higher with all those concerned about Europe. Even more it would finally give room to involve parliamentarians who have to vote on the end-result one day. Why is it so difficult for the German top bureaucrats to involve the public for at least one instance during their consultation.process?! – On a side-note I had a good laugh about the German EU administration today. Merkel’s suggestion for an open civil society hearing on the future of Europe to be organised in the European Parliament has been left with the EP’s administration. German officials from the Auswärtiges Amt have heard afterwards about Merkel’s proposal because it was not communicated to them after her speech in the Strasbourg plenary in March.
I realise that I am complaining again about the management of the Constitutional portfolio through the German presidency. What comes new to this today is Barroso’s u-turn on his proposal to hold a mini-summit with some more distinguished leaders of the (EU) club. The nature of such proposals illustrates the exact problem of the current arrangement. – The Barrosos and Merkels tend to fall back into the same trap over and over again: As long as there is not a more efficient decision-making mechanism, the big ones – or the most sceptic ones – determine the speed of the show and everyone else is annoyed for not being part of the game. And even worse: by voicing such a reluctant tone (as the leaders from the Netherlands, Czeck Republic, Poland have done), they even get more attention than they deserve. Again, I can only wonder, why the structured, transparent and far more democratic approach of the Convention-method has not been chosen in current circumstances. – This would not leave the presidency without the central role of a broker, but all these debates could have been turned to the forum where they belong – and where everyone belongs to on equal footing basis.