about the Charter of Fundamental Rights in tomorrow's Economist
The extraordinary 12-point questionnaire sent out to EU governments by Ms Merkel in recent days is designed largely to explore possible ways of smuggling a new text past unwitting voters. Suggested tricks include sacrificing high-profile bits that do not matter (an article confirming that the EU anthem is the “Ode to Joy”); and hiding other sensitive bits, for instance the Charter of Fundamental Rights, a sweeping list of social rights, by replacing its full text with “a short cross-reference having the same legal value”. Those with long memories will recall that, when the charter was first proposed in 1999, the politicians argued that making fundamental rights “more visible to the union's citizens” was indispensable to the EU's legitimacy. Now, it seems, it is indispensable for the charter to vanish from sight altogether.