Taoiseach Bertie Ahern escaped to Lisbon today for the signing ceremony of the EU Reform Treaty, although the Republic of Ireland is still to hold a referendum before it’s ratified. The UK’s Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, preferred not to clear a previous appointment in his diary to attend.. a move which the Guardian Leader column portrays as an insult to the other European leaders, if not the electorate. But perhaps the most pointed comment came from Samizdata Perry de Havilland, as linked by the Professor, “Yes, it is true. I am going to go and sign the treaty for the European Constitution on behalf of Belgium. . . . If the people who were voted out of office in Belgium months ago can sign the treaty, then why not me too?”. Belgium.. 6 months without a government. And, from the Editor in Chief of the Flemish-Netherlands association, one final quote.
Such balances and compromises keep Belgium together. It is all rather complicated. It needs patchwork all the time. But we don’t smash each other’s head. No blood s shed in these tribal wars. That’s quite a lot. What is now going on then? The limits of the Belgian system – a monstrosity that works – appear to be reached today.