Following two days of frantic negotiations in Brussels late last
month, the EU's heads of state and government finally agreed on a
mandate to negotiate a new Reform Treaty to replace the rejected
draft EU constitution. Although the new treaty is shorter, the
substance of the constitution remains largely untouched within it.
The Reform Treaty will shift power from nation-states to Brussels
and fundamentally change the workings of the EU, especially in
important areas of public policymaking, such as defense and energy,
where the United States usually finds more traction on a bilateral
basis. In particular, the treaty's proposed foreign policy role for
the EU poses a unique threat to the Anglo-American Special
The Constitution by Another Name
Although the French and Dutch rejections of the EU constitution in
2005 could not have been more emphatic or decisive, EU elites seem
unable to conceal their delight at bringing the constitution back
under a new name. Said Irish Taoiseach Bertie Ahern, "The substance
of what was agreed in 2004 has been retained…. What is gone
is the term 'constitution.'" And according to German Foreign Minister
Frank-Walter Steinmeier, the new treaty will "preserve the
substance of the constitutional treaty." Leading MEP Elmar Brok
commented, "Despite all the compromises, the substance of the draft
EU Constitution has been safeguarded." Even the drafter of the
constitution, Valery Giscard d'Estaing, has noted that cosmetic
changes will be made and "public opinion will be led to adopt,
without knowing it, the proposals that we dare not present to them
The Reform Treaty retains the essential components of an EU
superstate, including a single legal personality, a permanent EU
presidency, an EU-wide public prosecutor, and the position of
foreign minister in all but name. It would also increase the number
of decisions which will be taken by qualified majority voting (QMV)
in areas such as foreign policy, energy, transport, space policy,
and investment, potentially cutting Britain's power to veto EU
legislation by up to 30 percent. Overall, the treaty takes
enormous centralizing steps toward "ever closer union."
Large parts of the EU policy agenda at the center of the treaty,
such as the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) and European
Security and Defense Policy, are designed to serve as
counterweights to the American "hyperpower." Since the collapse
of the Soviet Union, the perceived need for another power to
counterbalance the United States has consistently motivated
advocates of European integration.
The United States and its partners in the war on terrorism
should also be suspicious of the increased powers that the Reform
Treaty would extend to the European Parliament in 40 areas. The
European Parliament remains a bastion of anti-Americanism intent on
prosecuting the American-led global war on terrorism. Its year-long
investigation into America's renditions policy reflected its desire
to criticize American foreign policy, while failing to address the
world's greatest threats. The European Parliament believes that
supranational institutions like itself and the United Nations
should be the sole arbiters of the use of force and should
determine the rules of engagement for both symmetrical and
asymmetrical conflicts. This idea is antithetical to U.S. (and
European) defense interests in the war on terrorism.
Finally, the United States should also be wary of French
President Nicolas Sarkozy's insistence on removing the EU's policy
commitment to free and undistorted competition. Sarkozy did not
even attempt to hide his intention in doing so: "The word
'protection' is no longer a taboo," he said. The enormous
subsidies given to French farmers under the Common Agricultural
Policy have long stalled the World Trade Organization's Doha Round,
and Brussels' increasing volatility in squaring off against
Washington over trade will only increase with the eradication of
Europe's free market ethos. The French-led inclination toward
protectionism within the EU represents a long-term threat to
America's relationship with its largest global trading partner.
The Great British Giveaway
Negotiating in his final days of office, Tony Blair secured a
British opt-out from the vastly prescriptive Charter of Fundamental
Rights and reaffirmed Britain's ability to set its own
"substantive" foreign policy under the Reform Treaty.
Blair returned from Brussels claiming that the EU had not
crossed his "red line" issues. However, this may not be the case.
Although the treaty does state that "national security remains the
sole responsibility of each Member State," it would also strengthen the
Common Foreign and Security Policy, which the U.K. is fully a party
The Union's competence in matters of common foreign and security
policy shall cover all areas of foreign policy and all questions
relating to the Union's security, including the progressive framing
of a common defence policy that might lead to a common defence.
Under the treaty, a beefed-up foreign minister would have the
right to speak in the U.N. Security Council and the power to
appoint EU envoys. The EU has already undertaken more than a dozen
missions under the CFSP's European Security and Defense Policy.
With an enhanced profile and budget, a diplomatic corp, and the
right to speak on Britain's behalf in multilateral institutions,
the EU's High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security
Policy would not enjoy the official title of foreign minister, but
he would enjoy its powers and responsibilities.
The institutional and political constraints of further European
integration could severely limit Britain's ability to build
international alliances and make foreign policy. The biggest damage
would be done to Britain's enduring alliance with the United
States. In political, diplomatic, and financial terms, no good has
come from limiting Britain's geopolitical outlook to the European
continent, and certainly no benefit can be derived from a deeper EU
absorption that limits Britain's time-tested relationship with the
The Reform Treaty will be finalized later this year and will
require ratification by all 27 member states. At present, 18 member
states have ratified the previous Constitutional Treaty, with
Ireland, Denmark, and Britain among those who have not. Adding to
the intrigue, Tony Blair has been touted as the first EU president,
starting in 2009. Overall, Blair's European legacy will be that he
gave away British independence and self-determination in order to
play the role of "the good European." The Reform Treaty that he
helped negotiate will bring Europe much closer to the French vision
of a protected integrated European Union than the British vision of
a free-trading, inter-governmental Europe and will do huge damage
to Britain's wider commitments in the world.
is Senior Policy Analyst in European Affairs in the Margaret
Thatcher Center for Freedom at The Heritage Foundation.
Siobhan Gaffney, "Referendum on EU treaty
'is likely,'" The Daily Mail,
June 25, 2007.
 "EU Treaty deal meets praise and
criticism,"EurActive, June 25, 2007.
 David Charter and Philip Webster, "Europe
divided," The Times (London), June 15, 2007.
 Open Europe, "The Constitution by any
 Former Socialist French Foreign Minister
Hubert Vedrine (1997-2002) coined the word "hyperpuissance"
("hyperpower"), to define America's political, military, and
economic strength after the Cold War.
 For a list of these areas, see Open Europe, "The Constitution by any other
 "EU Treaty deal meets praise and
 Ibid., Title V, Section