No, I’m not talking about InkJet printer stuff – although that’s more precious than gold, but that’s another story – but about the 27 signatures that will be placed on the European Union’s new
constitution Reform Treaty on December 13.
The Portuguese, who currently hold the rotating presidency, have finalised the negotiations and have been able to have it branded The Lisbon Treaty. Thus, they want to crown their efforts by having it formally signed in Lisbon as well.
The only problem is that there is supposed to be an ordinary Summit of the EU heads of state and government on that same date – in Brussels. As is customary ever since the EU decided to place all their summits there instead of shifting them around the current presiding nation, a few years ago.
The Portuguese have flatly refused to have the precious Lisbon Treaty signed anywhere else than in Lisbon, even though it’s literally just a question of putting names on pieces of paper. Ok, so are we to move the Summit there, then?
No way, the Belgians have declared. Summits are to be held in Brussels and nowhere else, period.
The solution so far (although no final decision has been taken) is – brace yourselves – that the 27 EU leaders will first fly to Lisbon on December 13 to write their names on a piece of paper. Immediately thereafter, they will all fly to Brussels to resume the rest of the Summit.
135 tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) is the estimated footprint of these 77,000 kilometres of unnecessary extra travel – just as the EU has decided to reduce CO2 output by 20 per cent. And all, once again, for 27 people to write their names on a piece of paper.
All in the name of national pride.
While you all ponder on why on Earth they can’t just e-mail the final draft around, and tag it electronically, I might add that these precious signatures may be rendered useless, because the Irish, for instance, are still undecided whether or not to vote in favour of it at the subsequent referendum. A few setbacks like that is what killed the previous Constitution, and could very well do so again.
Moreover, the other 26 EU leaders could find themselves turning up in Lisbon between flights only to discover that the 27th can’t sign or maybe isn’t there at all, because there is currently no guarantee that Belgium will have a functioning government by then. In such a case, Belgium will be unable to sign, leaving the other 26 with some unexpected spare time to go shopping in Lisbon or whatever.
And to add insult to injury… they will all be in Lisbon anyway a few days earlier for the EU-Africa summit, but the Portuguese have refused to allow any signing then.
If I am dreaming, then could you please wake me up.