IN OTHER WORDS
José Manuel Barroso, the president of the European Commission, spoke good sense last week when he declared that negotiations on reorganising the EU can’t start from scratch every time a member state has a change of government. But that is what Poland’s not-so-new president, Lech Kaczynski, and his twin brother, PM Jaroslaw Kaczynski, are trying to
do on the eve of an EU summit with their blustery demands that Poland retain almost as big a vote in the EU as the far more populous Germany. If they persevere, they would block adoption of a much-needed constitutional treaty.
The attempt to salvage the best bits of the old constitutional treaty is being led by Germany’s chancellor, Angela Merkel. Wisely, she has pressed for the removal of all the trappings of a European federation in hopes of calming those who feared that Brussels’s goal is to strip member states of all their sovereign powers. Instead, the new draft focuses on reforms to make the union more effective and transparent: a longer presidential term; a unified foreign policy; a charter of fundamental rights; and fewer opportunities for national vetoes. With all the challenges out there — terrorism, global warming, an anti-democratic Russia and a nuclear-ambitious Iran — Europe needs a strong union and the US needs a strong European partner. — The New York Times