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Brussels breakdown

The failure to agree an EU constitution had many culprits. An insider spills the beans

By Peter Ludlow   February 2004

A year to the day after the Copenhagen European council of 2002 agreed to admit ten new members, the EU 25 failed its first major test. In the immediate aftermath of the Brussels intergovernmental conference (IGC) of 12th-13th December 2003, both commentators and insiders looked for culprits. This was understandable and indeed justified: some individuals were more responsible than others. In a longer term perspective, however, the breakdown at Brussels was an accident waiting to happen.

There were three main issues, all designed to make the enlarged EU function more effectively, that the IGC ought to have resolved: the weighting…

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