Even if you’re pro-European like me it’s impossible to read Valery Giscard d’Estaing’s first draft of Articles 1 to 16 of the proposed European Constitutional Treaty without the word ‘Napoleonic’ forming silently in your head. Amid the careful discussion of ‘competencies’ and ‘subsidiarity’ you can make out a continent-spanning centralising instinct which must, sooner or later, be faced down. Local opt-outs are no substitute for getting the structure right now but it’s difficult to see how decentralising voices can make themselves heard against the clamour of enlargement. The irony is that a genuinely federal structure would probably permit a proper devolution of power but British repugnance for the word means that it comes up only once in the document – often enough to trigger a tabloid scare, though.
[Danny found an ascii version]

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