Day by Day

Saturday, December 13, 2003

I had a little blurb up about the Electoral College a while back. It's basic purpose was to prevent the larger population states from railroading the smaller states. There's more to it than that, but that's the short and simple version. That's also the reason we have two houses of Congress. It's all a matter of checks and balances to ensure that small states have the same representation of the larger states. California cannot vote to take away Rhode Island's lunch money, because the Senators from Rhode Island can block that vote in the Senate. It took years for the Continental Congress to come up with this system, but it's worked well for over two hundred years.

Maybe Europe needs to take a lesson from it.

The European Union's effort to seal its first-ever constitution collapsed Saturday, after leaders could not agree on the best way to divvy power once the bloc adds 10 new members next year.

The key stumbling block was a proposal to scrap a complicated points system that was accepted in 2000 and gave Spain and newcomer Poland almost as many votes as Germany, which has twice as many people as either. Talks will be taken up again sometime after March of next year.

The EU is, and always will be, about power. Power in economics, power to oppose the USA on the world stage, power is the guiding force of the EU for the main players. France, Germany, and the UK. And more importantly, it's about France and Germany holding power over the rest of Europe. This is their way of standing supreme as they haven't done in over a century, lords over the rest of the EU. France and Germany are more than willing to let the other countries play, so long as they maintain the power in the EU. You can see it in the way France acts, how Germany treats countries like Hungary or Italy. When Chirac told the Eastern Bloc that "They had missed a good opportunity to shut up", you could see France's power grab in the naked daylight.

The draft text supported by France and Germany would allow EU decisions to be made by a simple majority of EU nations if they represent 60 percent of the EU's population of 450 million. The constitution must be approved unanimously by all 25 governments.

Backers of the proposed new voting system, led by Germany and France, say the changes will make the voting system simpler and more democratic.

Those revisions, along with others in the draft constitution, were intended to streamline decision-making to prevent gridlock when the 15-member EU takes in 10 new members, mostly from the former communist east, in May.

Poland -- the biggest of the 10 newcomers -- along with Spain objected most vociferously to the proposed change. The Spanish and the Poles insist the new system would entrench the power of the four EU heavyweights -- Britain, France, Germany and Italy

Imagine if there were no Senate in Congress. The Representatives from California and New York would rule the roost. If California wanted a country wide concealed weapons ban, they could push it through, and states like Idaho or Montana could do nothing but sit by helplessly and watch. That is what France and Germany want. They want to be able to do what they want, just by a simple majority. Naturally, the other countries are balking. They're resisting the Franco-Prussian power grab.

"If it's not possible to agree, we shall wait," Polish Foreign Minister Wlodzimierz Cimoszewicz said Saturday morning. "We're talking about compromise or domination."

A French diplomat accused Poland of being "intransigent."

Translation: "Stupid Plebe! Get back to work and let us make the decisions!" I have seen enough French arrogance to last a lifetime. Seeing the difficulty that they're having with their constitution, I wonder of the EU is going to last at all. I hope, for the sake of Europe, that it doesn't. Because France and Germany will drag the continent down, if they have the power.

For a more in-depth look at France's power grabs, see these USS Clueless articles here and here.

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