Eu Council has spoken: It's a turnip!

Early this morning the EU 'not a summit', resulted in a 'not a treaty' that calls for convening an IGC to prepare a 'not a constitution'. The entire document can be found here (h/t EU Referendum).

According to Trouw, which does it's best to follow the party line, crowing as it does about a major victory for the Netherlands, the symbols (flag and anthem) are out, as is any reference to the treaty as a 'constitution'. The EU foreign minister will not be called that, but will be a 'high representative, or some such'.

However, what is hailed as a success can be equally well described as a resounding defeat. Especially in the light of the reasons the earlier 'constitution' was rejected by the Dutch. A link to the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights is still in the treaty. And it is binding, which means that the EU gets primacy over national legal matters in a whole slew of areas.

National parliaments will not get the possibillity to 'red card' EU decisions. Instead we get an 'orange card'. If 51% of EU member parliaments think a piece of EU legislation is problematic, they get 8 weeks to make their objections heard. The EU Commission will then have to give an elaborate explanation.

However, no provisions are made for blockage of legislation deemed problematic. So after those 8 weeks and explanation the EU can go ahead with the new legistlation anyway. In exchange for this 'victory', the Dutch government has agreed to give up it's veto rights. This isn't quid pro quo. This is 2-0 for the EU after a Dutch own goal. So where does the cabinet get off, saying that their stated goal of 'more power to national parliaments' has been in any way met? The words 'sold' and 'out' are constantly bubbling up while reading what the 'not a treaty' amounts to.

Obviously, the Dutch government is convinced the electorate is a bunch of babies. And we're being fed a pacifier. Or rather, a pacifier shaped turnip.

[INSTANT UPDATE] EU Observer is unexpectedly frank about the new 'not a treaty':
The negotiating base reflects a stringent political reality: it needs to produce a document that feels different to the constitution that was rejected two years ago in France and the Netherlands, but keeps the subtance of the original text. It also has to be a text that leaders can sell at home as being not worth putting to a referendum. (emphasis added)
That about sums the whole damn thing up, doesn't it?

[UPDATE001] EU Referendum has a more detailed analysis of the agreed upon 'mandate' here.

[UPDATE002] Christopher Booker sees a coup d'├ętat in the way yesterdays 'not a treaty' spells out so detailed the 'mandate' for the about to be convened IGC.
On this occasion, to secure the new treaty they are all so desperately keen to see in place, there will still have to be an IGC, as the rules require. But what is wholly new about yesterday's resolution is that, for the first time, the European Council has given an "exclusive mandate" to all the governments involved that they can only be permitted to discuss the treaty the European Council wants. In other words, they are no longer allowed to act as sovereign governments, as the international rules on treaties require, but can only act under the orders given them by the European Council.

This may sound like a typically arcane nicety of EU procedure, but it is of huge significance. The European Council is itself a "Community institution". It is therefore ordering the sovereign governments to hand over more powers to itself. This is something which, until it so dramatically changed the rules yesterday, no one would have thought the Council had the power to do.
Hopefully, there will be referenda in various EU member countries (including our swamoy little corner of te world) to kill this too-clever-by-half ploy.

[UPDATE003] Reactions around the Dutch blogosphere (all in NL I'm afraid):
Willem de Zwijger: Deception as political principle.
Vrij Onverveerd: This is nothing more or less then high treason. Het Vrije Volk thinks likewise.
Open Orthodoxie: The mandate is designed to have politicians take the 'courageous' decision to keep the citizen out of the decision loop.
Uitkijk: Balkenende did it! The Netherlands sold.

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