The joke's on them: the European Parliament passed Thursday a fresh resolution declaring further enlargement of the EU impossible without first voting in a new EU Constitution.
The argument is that the Treaty of Nice set the EU max-out point at 27 members -- which will be realized when Bulgaria and Romania are brought into the fold as early as 2007. Sensible enough -- only the resounding defeat of the vast and incomprehensible EU Constitution that Europe already voted on makes the exercise more academic-bureaucratic than anything else.
Of course, the latest strategy among the Yes men is "cherry-picking," adopting those parts of the defeated Constitution that are deemed to have not been the reason why the whole thing was croaked with a fusillade of democracy. But the We-Win-Anyway, a la carte techique ignores publicly what it implicitly recognizes -- the EU right now is like a shark. It must keep moving or die. Freezing expansion to figure out a phone-book Constitution will freeze Turkey and Ukraine -- Europe's crucial eastern bulwarks -- out of the EU. Without Ankara and Kiev secured and reeling in to the West, Europe is profoundly vulnerable to pressure from anti-European immigrants and power-brokers. That means more terror and less gas.
However little the Parliamentarians would like to admit it, EU expansion is impossible with a turn back toward Constitutionalism -- not the other way around.