Yearender 2009:The end of the EU's navel-gazing?

DPA, Earth Times, 07.12.2009

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It was meant to be the end of the European Union's navel-gazing: 2009, the year of the Lisbon Treaty, which came into force after much wrangling and drama on December 1. But analysts say that the treaty's inauguration after eight years of dithering is only likely to move the EU into a new period of wrangling, as the new organizations set up by the treaty spend much of 2010 arguing over which of them has what powers. [...]

"To put an end to navel-gazing, you would have to know what you want. After the wave of enlargements in 2004 and 2007, what is the next big project? As long as you don't have a new grand project, there will be navel-gazing," agreed Janis Emmanouilidis, senior policy analyst at the European Policy Centre think tank in Brussels. [...]

"Setting up the EAS will be a complex operation involving the council, the commission and member states, so it will require a lot of attention and there will be fights over it," Emmanouilidis said.

They await further internal wrangling as the bloc gears up to debate its six-year budget to cover the years following 2013.

"There will be extremely tough fights, because with tight budgets in the middle of the economic crisis, we will have an even more difficult situation than in the past," Emmanouilidis said. [...]

But given the amount of time and effort that the EU spent to bring the treaty into force, one thing seems clear: not even the keenest europhile is likely to have much appetite for more treaties in the near term.

"Everybody is fed up with treaty reform, which means that for the next years, nobody is going to be interested in having another one," Emmanouilidis said. [...]

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