Thursday, June 19, 2008

Cohen's fit of pique

Whoa! Roger Cohen needs a break. Clearly he's working too hard. He also needs to read David McWilliams's from yesterday's Irish Independent. He should also read Gideon Rachman from the Financial Times earlier in the week.
The European Union has a difficult balance to strike between efficiency and accountability - between democracy and technocracy. The lesson of the Irish referendum, and of the French and Dutch votes before it, is that the balance has tilted too much towards technocracy.
Even Anne Applebaum's Washington Post column from Tuesday might help him with some perspective.
So pay no attention to the wailing in Brussels: If the most enthusiastic Europeans in Europe didn't care enough to read the treaty they've just rejected, then maybe it's just as well it didn't pass.
Maybe had Cohen read those columns he might have tempered what he said in today's New York Times.
Yet here we have the Irish, in a fit of Euro-bashing pique worthy of the worst of little-Englandism, rejecting the renegotiated Lisbon treaty essential for the functioning of an expanded 27-member E.U. Biting the hand that feeds you does not begin to describe this act of bloody-mindedness.

The Lisbon Treaty is essential. It alone can create a streamlined decision-making mechanism for a 27-member union. It alone can forge the meaningful presidency and foreign-affairs posts that will give the E.U. the increased political clout that its economic weight demands.
"Pique"? "Biting the hand"? "Bloody-mindedness"? At least he's respecting the Irish people's democratically expressed wishes. NOT!

Like I said, Cohen needs a break. He's clearly overwrought (as are too many in the pro-Lisbon camp). The vote is not the calamity he and others have portrayed it as nor was the 'No' vote a fit of "pique" or "bloody-mindedness". The European Union has a problem with legitimacy among the people of the EU. Taking the time to try to understand this phenomenon would be a worthwhile exercise for those at the center of the EU's power structure.