During the week British Prime Minister Tony Blair advocated a stripped down version of the proposed EU constitution, where only the institutional changes present in the failed proposal would be implemented, perhaps in a slightly modified form. Blair isn't alone; French presidential candidate Nicolas Sarkozy also supports a similar solution as does Dutch Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende. The main draw seems to be that such a basic treaty could be passed without those pesky referendums some national leaders were unwise enough to promise to their constituents.
In Finland, where governments have fewer qualms about disregarding public opinion on important EU matters, the minimized treaty approach has found little support. The Finnish News Agency (STT) made a mess of their article on Foreign Minister Ilkka Kanerva's comments, but the new government's point of view comes through:
Erkki [sic] Kanerva (cons), Finland's new finance [sic] minister, on Friday rejected the idea of culling the EU's troubled draft constitutional treaty into a so-called mini-treaty, adding it was not in Finland's interest to remove everything but matters related to decision-making from the draft treaty, rejected by the French and Dutch voters in 2005.It's natural for a small country like Finland to oppose a mini-constitution solution, as its effect would be to take away power from the small member countries in favour of the large ones, without giving anything in return. One could defend the proposed voting rules on the basis that they're more proportional than the current system where everyone has a veto. I'll believe that the French and British leadership want to advance proportionality in the EU for the sake of fairness after they show interest in increasing proportionality in their own legislative elections.
It'll be interesting to see what happens if the supporters of the minimized treaty get an upper hand in negotiations. Is the government willing to stand by their stated position? I'm afraid I doubt it.