Telegraph | News | With Friends like these...
: "With Friends like these...
Posted at: 12:40
Still befuddled by the tail-end of flu, I wondered for a moment if the following press release was a parody. Then I read it again slowly, and realised - no, it's just another day on Planet Brussels.
The press release, from the think tank 'Friends of Europe', was about a new Gallup opinion poll, that asked whether it would be 'undemocratic' to salvage key parts of the EU constitution, after it was derailed by No votes in France and Holland last summer. Not at all, the poll found: 'By a wide margin of 77%, [respondents] thought EU leaders should re-introduce its most important elements without going through referendums'. Crikey, I thought. Where did they find so many people keen to allow EU leaders to bypass the voters. Then I read the small print. The poll was of… EU leaders.
Friends of Europe, a Brussels-based outfit whose board of trustees is crammed full of Euro-bigwigs and retired luminaries, actually sought out Europe's elite, to ask them if they thought it would be good plan to leave the future of the constitution in the hands of Europe's elite. In their own words, they asked Gallup to survey 'some 100 politicians, journalists, officials, NGO chiefs and top businessmen.'
The results were thoroughly encouraging: 'An overwhelming majority of European policy experts surveyed by Gallup have said that it would not be undemocratic if the EU were to salvage key parts of its wrecked constitutional treaty,' notably the creation of an EU foreign minister, and EU diplomatic service, according to the group. You can read the whole thing here, if you have the time.
There are some choice pull-out quotes from respondents, such as this one: Asked if it would be undemocratic to move ahead with an EU diplomatic service, Philippe de Schoutheete, former Belgian Permanent Representative [ambassador] to the EU replied: 'Of course not. Electors rejected for a variety of reasons a complex text, not its constituent elements.' I wasn't going to make the obvious gag, but it's Friday, so forgive me. With Friends like these, the European project doesn't need many more enemies."