Come see the bureaucracy inherent in the system!

Tomorrow, Dutch citizens decide whether they want to accept the new EU Constitution. It seems likely, especially after the French non, that they will reject this new treaty as well. Meanwhile EU officials from all sides are thoroughly baffled by all this. So in the interest of a unified Europe, which I think makes good sense in all sorts of ways, I've decided to help them out.

Dear EU official, please examine this image from BBC News that attempts to show how the decision-making process in the European Council will work. Please note that the BBC, on the whole, do a pretty good job of explaining complex issues in a comprehensible way.

So... 55% of member states (representing 65% of the population) need to vote in favor, UNLESS fewer than four countries oppose is, EXCEPT when the decision requires unanimity. And remember, this is just how voting works in the Council, one of several EU bodies. As one fellow blogger remarked,

Hey Guys, next time you draft a proposed constitution, try to keep it under 1000 words. If you can't, it probably means you haven't really given it sufficient thought.

The same goes for the EU's procedures. It's like the classic dialogue between King Arthur and Dennis, the anarcho-syndicalist farmer, in Monty Python and the Holy Grail (paraphrased for effect):

EU: We take it in turns to act as a sort of executive officer for the week,...
EU: ...but all the decisions of that officer have to be ratified at a special bi-weekly meeting...
VOTER: Yes, I see.
EU: a simple majority in the case of purely internal affairs,...
VOTER: Be quiet!
EU: ...but by a two-thirds majority in the case of more major--
VOTER: Be quiet! I order you to be quiet! [votes No]

Posted by cronopio at 01:09 PM, May 31, 2005