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Nothing horrifies governments more than the prospect of consulting voters on matters European. So it was little surprise to see them reaching for diminutives to describe the change to the Lisbon treaty which they agreed late in October. “Small, small, small” was one diplomat’s verdict of the revision which Berlin demanded as a price for agreeing a mechanism to deal with future eurozone debt crises.

Herman Van Rompuy, president of the European council, the body where EU governments meet, is very much of this view. Never an enthusiast for any form of treaty change, he managed to kick into touch…

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