But there are a very large number of components in this monstrosity, making it it worthy of more detailed consideration, which I propose to give it in the coming days. Here are a few initial observations, in no particular order.
- some of its proponents are very critical of the 'ever closer union'-supporting countries whom one might imagine a priori would be most in favour of another acqui-grab: critical of France, and particularly of Germany. That's because a major strand of this is about Eastern Europe looking for the help of the Big Brothers in their hitherto one-sided dealings with Gazprom, in which they feel they've been hung out to dry
- there is a strong strand of anti-Russian 'energy revanchism' in play here - if only as a smokescreen (security of supply being the last refuge of a scoundrel) - and one cannot but note the timing relative to recent setbacks suffered by the EU expansionistas in their Ukrainian policy
- France has always wanted the rest of us to pay its astronomical nuclear decommissioning bill, so a 'CEP' was always going to be on the table to join the CAP at some stage
- the UK has worked wonders behind the scenes, over more than a decade, to drive the open energy market agenda across the EU - with considerable success, given the entrenched opposition from France and Germany. The Package contains a lot of commendable open-market rhetoric - again, maybe as a smokescreen
- the politics of all this will be epic. Why would Germany give up its direct gas links with Russia? Why would France give more power to anti-nuclear forces within Europe? Why would the fervent anti-nukes allow France the opportunity to enshrine the nuclear option in an EU charter? (as they surely will - an absolute red line for them). Why would the UK accept such a blatant extension of centralisation from Brussels, enough perhaps to make us quit altogether? (well OK, we know Mili would love it)
- the greens will be wetting themselves at the whole prospect, seeing it as the perfect instrument for implementing their wildest fantasies