Monday, July 21, 2008



While the prime issues in the US are the economy, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, an election (now in low gear until the conventions), and what is the best superhero movie of the summer, Europe has been dealing with some major issues of organization.

As the world continues to globalize, the structure of European government will have an impact on our own daily lives. Indirectly. Not immediately. But definitely.

American newspapers and television do a very spotty job of reporting on Europe (or anywhere else outside their local area... unless there is a war, a natural disaster, or a sports event), so here are some pointers to information about two major events.

Earlier, (June 12, 2008) Ireland rejected a treaty (called The Lisbon Treaty... or just "Lisbon" for short) changing the structure of the European Union. According to the rules, for the changes in the Lisbon Treaty to take effect, they must be ratified unanimously by every nation involved in the EU. The rejection by Ireland is therefore a big deal. The treaty is vigorously supported by Nicolas Sarkozy, the current President of France, who is taking a larger and larger role in international diplomacy.

Today, just a few hours ago, the "biggest change in 50 years" in the constitution of France was narrowly approved. (See **note below.). It gives the President some new powers and the French Parliament some new powers.

Here are some articles about both events:

The Lisbon Treaty:

French Constitutional Reform:

**Note: The vote was 539 to 357; 60% of the vote was required to win; 60% of (539+357) = 537.6. So there was one vote more than necessary to win.

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