We’ve seen all the intra-European arguments about Lisbon (now in force for a full fortnight) – what we really need is some expert extra-European opinion. So ta very much to Philip H Gordon, Assistant Secretary, Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs at the US State Department, for his handy overview.
– “the role of Member States in decision-making is undiminished”
– “The treaty… allows for some EU states which are at the forefront of defense cooperation to pursue greater harmonization of their defense apparatus without the limitations of those states who do not wish to participate”
– “the Lisbon Treaty represents a serious effort by our EU partners to streamline their policymaking process. We understand that, as with all efforts to reform complex institutions, this is a work in progress, and that it may take time for the new institutions to demonstrate their impact. Nevertheless, we hope that the changes brought by Lisbon will make the EU a stronger partner for the United States, and increase the role of Europe on the world’s stage. We want the EU to be that stronger partner and we certainly intend to do our part to engage closely with the new institutions, but in the end their ultimate effectiveness will be determined by the will of EU Member States to invest in them.”
Well would you look at that? The United States doesn’t seem to think that Lisbon has brought about a superstate (as some of our more hysterical anti-EU friends seem to believe), but rather that it continues to allow EU member states a great deal of individual power and flexibility. And the United States also seems to believe that – as its supporters have consistently maintained – the Lisbon Treaty is primarily aimed at streamlining the union’s working methods.
Oh, and just to add to what anyone with half a brain and the ability to read has been saying about the thing, Assistant Secretary Gordon also notes the increased powers that are going to the European Parliament – that’d be the increased democracy bit that we’ve been going on about for the last few years.
So, what’s the conspiracy that explains the US State Department echoing the EU’s own line on Lisbon – a line that’s supposedly dishonest propaganda designed to hide the true sinister intent of the treaty? Anyone?
(Sorry for the blogging silence here of late, by the way – very, very busy for the last few weeks…)