Brown must show Britain is not a reluctant partner
Good to see the treaty signed by all 27 governments yesterday. Pity that Gordon Brown’s diary clash meant he arrived late, giving ample leeway for comments along the lines of "Britain, as ever, the last to join" or "Britain half-hearted again". Gordon will need to ensure that the rest of Europe doesn’t get carried away with such ideas.
Now the battle moves on to securing ratification. the European Parliament will vote on the treaty in February, based on my own report that I, together with Íñigo Méndez de Vigo, am writing for the Constitutional Affairs Committee. Then each national parliament must vote (only Ireland is holding a referendum because it is obliged to on any treaty revision by its own constitution). Every government seems confident that it will secure a majority, or even a large majority. But it only needs a single “no” to bring ratification to a halt and plunge the EU into another institutional wrangle.