Movement afoot to take a step toward greater European integration that's been moribund since 2005, when voters in France and the Netherlands said "non" and "nee," respectively, to ratification.
On the eve of this week's European Union summit Chancellor Angela Merkel (left) of Germany, current holder of the EU presidency, put forward a plan for a streamlined treaty that would do much of what the spurned document would've, yet would lose the name of European Constitution. Merkel's said her initial meetings, particularly with Poland, met with "'serious snags.'" New French President Nicholas Sarkozy, whose party won a legislative majority yesterday, wants things simplified, and outgoing British Prime Minister Tony Blair resists giving the Charter of Fundamental Rights supranational effect. Only time will tell whether Merkel's initiative will bear fruit.
In any event, proposals to pare the document seem like a good idea if Europe is to embrace fully the clarity of comprehension that popular sovereignty requires. To one schooled in the world's oldest written Constitution still in existence -- a charter that even as amended weighs in at well under 20 pages -- Europe's 474-page version has always seemed a tad on the long side.