Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Lisbon...Who Says Theres No 'Plan B'?

Don't believe politicians who say there is no plan "B" if Ireland votes No to the Lisbon Treaty. There is, and it is being kept under wraps in Prague. A No campaign car in Dublin

The Czechs take over the rolling European Union presidency on 1 January 2009 - the very date that the Lisbon Treaty is due to come into effect. Depending on the result of the Irish referendum on 12 June, they could survey two very different scenarios.

That's why the Czech government has prepared two different papers on what the EU should do in the first half of next year - one based on life after Lisbon, the other, plan "B".
Fine Gael Yes campaign poster
Some of this is technical: if Lisbon lives, there will be a president of the council, be it Juncker or Blair or Rasmussen, so a smaller role for the Czech prime minister. If Lisbon dies, there will be a bigger role for him. Some ministerial councils that would change under Lisbon, would survive.

But the Czechs are also setting out a plan "B" for the political future. Whether it is to persuade the Irish to vote again, to rip up Lisbon, redesign it or forget it I don't yet know.

But perhaps, after the demise of the constitution, we are currently living through plan "B". Perhaps the Czech plan should be codenamed "C", with the possibility of an alphabet soup of alternatives lined up behind it.

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